Think Beyond the Grocery Store

America has a very diverse food system.  There are a million and one ways to obtain your food.  There are your run-of-the-mill grocery stores.  Many of these offer some healthy choices and generally have a decent selection of produce.  But they aren’t the only way to get your food!  Here are some other great options for hunting down healthy foods throughout different times of the year:

Farmers Markets. I love these.  They’re one of my favorite things about summer time, and they’re growing in popularity.  You can find an abundance of quality local produce (and often other things!) at a fairly reasonable price.  Every major city has at least one, and most rural areas have a few to pick from.  Illinois is well-known for it’s sweet corn, which is one of my favorite farmer market treats.  I’ve also bought pasture-raised pork, fresh flowers, and amazing vegetables as our local market!

Natural Foods Stores. These run a big more expensive than markets (sometimes) but there are many options for being cost-effective here.  Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are great options that are fairly populous.  It isn’t hard to find them.  There are, of course, smaller chains or even just local or regional places.  There’s a place in the Chicago suburbs that I happened on accidentally once.  I don’t even remember the name, but it was all whole foods.  Nuts, vegetables, even their desserts were about as whole as you can get.  (Chocolate covered nuts and espresso beans?  Yes please!)

Go to the Source! I love farmers.  I love farmers of all sorts.  I especially love farmers that I can go straight to for my food.  Have you ever been to a berry farm?  Have you ever collected your own eggs?  I love places like that, and I love fostering a relationship with the people that grow our food.  I’ve had the joy of picking my own peaches, apples, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries on farms.  I’ve also gotten to visit the locations where my beef, pork, and rabbit meat have been raised in the past.  There’s nothing like being able to see your food from start to finish!

The paths you can follow to obtain your food are numerous!  There’s nothing wrong with your standard grocery stores.  It’s just valuable to note freshness of food, and its origin.  There’s definitely some merit to understanding the history of your food, and trying alternate paths can really open doors to that!  So, explore your options.  These are not, by any means, the only ways to get directly to your food.  However, I hope this post encourages you to explore your options!  Food is all around us.  It’s up to us to find the right choices.