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Why Buy Locally Grown Produce?

Our locally grown food choices go far beyond Plant City strawberries and Ruskin tomatoes.

For the consumer there are several advantages to buying locally grown produce.  It is fresher and more nutritious because it spends a lot less time traveling from the field to the table.   It should be less expensive because of lower transportation costs.  It’s better for the environment because there is a reduced carbon footprint with the shorter distance for hauling the food.  And buying locally grown products puts your money back into the local economy – the economy that impacts you the most.

We are very fortunate to be living in a county with a strong agricultural base.  According to the University of Florida IFAS Extension, Hillsborough County has the second largest number of farms of any county in the state.  Those farms produce an amazing variety of produce valued at over $392 million in annual sales.

You need to bear in mind that a lot of our local produce is seasonal so it won’t always be available year round.  That’s why it’s important to try to eat what’s in season; it will be fresher and less expensive.

To help illustrate my point on the wide range of products, here is a small sampling of produce grown just in the Plant City area:

Marjon Specialty Foods, Plant City

Soy products, tofu

Sprouts

Specialty Onions

Wishnatzki Farms, Plant City

Blueberries

Strawberries

Bell Peppers

Squash

Eggplant

Cucumbers

Cantaloupes/Melons

Parke Family Hydro Farms, Plant City

Greens

Herbs

Lettuce

Peppers

Tomatoes

Strawberries

Big Bear Farms, Plant City

Organic Blueberries

Organic Elderberries (wild edible!)

Organic Vegetables

Keel & Curley Winery, Plant City

Blueberries

Wines (not exactly produce, but who can deny the “Napa Valley of the Tampa Bay area?”)

When buying produce I encourage you to check the label to see where it is grown.  If you can buy our local products, you’ll reap direct benefits.  Beyond that, you’ll be investing in this area’s economy and in our collective food security.

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Grant Rimbey October 06, 2011 at 03:04 PM
Temple Terrace needs a community garden, we have talked to the city in the past about the large utility easement area east of the river on TT Highway in the Rolling Terrace area. Seminole Heights and Tampa Heights are big into community gardens. The TT Preservation Society is probably not the right group to run with this project.
Grant Rimbey October 06, 2011 at 03:08 PM
Seminole Heights Community Garden http://seminoleheightscg.ning.com/
Steven McBride October 07, 2011 at 12:00 AM
I agree that a community garden would be a great asset for Temple Terrace residents. Aside from the benefits of gardening and being outdoors, they tend to foster camaraderie among neighbors and enhance community pride..
Elizabeth A. Leib October 10, 2011 at 07:05 PM
Steve, if you have an interest and the time to pursue a community garden here in TT, let me know. I'd like to be involved in a TT community garden.
Grant Rimbey October 10, 2011 at 07:12 PM
I'd also like to be involved in getting something started. Steven, we shoudl all chat about it sometime.
Steven McBride October 10, 2011 at 08:52 PM
Elizabeth & Grant, we can get together and discuss feasibility and possible sites. I know it's feasible ... we just need some sunny land and a way to water the plants.
Elizabeth A. Leib October 11, 2011 at 01:09 AM
Let's do it. Maybe we could pull it together in time for spring planting.
Grant Rimbey October 11, 2011 at 02:09 PM
It's on the TT Garden Club Board agenda for November 2.
Ashley Reams October 11, 2011 at 02:35 PM
Very cool idea, guys!

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