There’s nothing quite like traveling to a country whose culture you’ve yet to dive into. One of the best ways to understand a place’s way of life is through its food. And many people agree with that. In fact, a lot of travelers spend more on food and drinks when they’re abroad because they believe that what they taste shapes their trip and leaves a lasting impression.
When you eat local as you travel, it doesn’t only help you as a traveler. It also supports the communities you visit, and it even gives a helping hand to our planet. If you haven’t given this much thought before, here’s why you should always choose local produce and local food when traveling:
Local Produce Is Part Of The Culture
Getting a taste of the local culture is an important element of traveling. Traditional food and produce are closely linked to that cultural experience. Visitors to the United Kingdom want to eat fish and chips, Vietnamese pho with the freshest of vegetables is a huge draw for those visiting Vietnam, and jerk chicken is a dish that should be experienced when in Jamaica.
Traditional cuisines made with fresh produce are a component of a country’s tradition and are deeply ingrained in the memories of its locals. These foods and produce are there for you to have a small taste of the culture you are experiencing. So, as much as you possibly can, skip the fast food that you can easily find at home and leave your taste buds to the locals.
Local Produce Is Fresher & Tastes Better
There’s no denying that food that hasn’t traveled halfway around the world is fresher than other “convenient” options. Fruits and vegetables that have been sitting in the back of a truck for days won’t taste as good as those pulled up from a local farm.
When traveling, it’s difficult to tell which foods are grown locally, but you can start by simply strolling local shops and farmers’ markets rather than heading straight to supermarkets. If applicable, you can also opt to get locally-produced products through a grocery delivery app.
The produce and ingredients you’ll find in local cuisine are also seasonal, which means they typically taste way better! Seasonal eating is also beneficial to our bodies since it helps us maintain a natural balance. For example, watermelon and cucumbers help keep the body cool in the summer. On the other hand, antioxidant-rich root vegetables are collected during the winter months to keep us warm and protect us from illness.
Local Produce Opens Up A World Of New Flavors
You’ll discover exciting new delicacies and even delectable new methods of preparing food once you commit to buying more local food, produce, and ingredients. Traveling to a new location exposes you to a whole new world of authentic flavor profiles and cuisines that you would have otherwise missed out on.
Trying new foods broadens not only your cultural knowledge, but also your palate. Knowing and trying unusual and exotic foods will allow you to gain insight into the lives of the locals. This teaches you to appreciate the various methods in which food is prepared in different locations.
Local Produce Support Farmers & Their Community
When you buy local food and produce when traveling, you are keeping the money within the area. This means that you’re helping their economy by supporting local farmers, as well as providing jobs for farm workers and those working in local food processing factories and distribution hubs.
Doing this also fosters connections between locals and visitors. Travelers who just stay in one town for a few days may believe that it is too short a time to form any meaningful relationships. However, it’s really where you eat that flips this thinking over its head. The places, restaurants, and establishments you dine in will influence how the local community views travelers and, in certain cases, nationalities as a whole.
Local Produce Helps The Environment
In addition to the culinary, cultural, and personal benefits that eating locally provides, it also helps to improve and protect our environment. The lower the number of food miles your food travels, the better! This is because the transportation of these goods consumes less energy and emits fewer greenhouse gases compared to the hundreds of miles that are needed to import food.
On top of all of this, local farmers usually use sustainable farming methods and practices. Food is wasted less in distribution, warehousing, and retail because local foods have shorter distribution chains. In terms of packaging, local products do not use styrofoam to package fruits and vegetables, instead they often take advantage of packaging alternatives.
Furthermore, when you buy locally, it also means you’re supporting the local farmland and green spaces.
Discover The Rich Varieties of Local Produce & Cuisines
When in a new place or a new country, always make an effort to choose local foods and produce over what your palate is already used to. You won’t regret it as long as you do your research and know what’s in season. Avoid supermarkets and convenience stores and opt for local and farmers’ markets in your vacation destination. When dining out, don’t go for the tourist traps. Instead, seek out local eateries that specialize in regional food and are enthusiastic about what they serve.
Local food and produce vary depending on the temperature and seasonal variations of the country or city you’re going to, so there is always something new to explore. Go out there and give your tastebuds an unforgettable tour!