The creation of a child is a time when many parents take a renewed interest in the content of their diets, often starting in the supermarket.

For a couple eating fast food-to-go, it may be their first time in a supermarket, with the intention of preparing a meal from food, not a box. Another couple might start buying Certified Organic food and "shopping the perimeter," where the fresh foods are. And others might pass by the supermarket, headed for the health food store.

Shelf stable and highly convenient

In the supermarket, you are surrounded by highly processed, salty and sugary foods with dairy, palm, soy and high fructose corn syrup, in nearly every product. 

In the health food store, you are surrounded by highly processed, salty and sugary foods with sea salt, soy, coconut oil and organic cane sugar in nearly every product. In addition, you can also supplement your diet with bottles of natural vitamins and protein powders.

Both places specialize in food products, not foods.

They are causing a health crisis in our community. We are now overweight and malnourished at the same time. 

Food products are altered by manufacturing, chemistry, or genetics to remove undesired parts like bran, moisture, living bacteria, or cholesterol from a food. Or they are fortified with extra protein, iron, Vitamin D, calcium or Omega 3’s, whether or not Mother Nature intended the original food to have those. 

In addition, they are processed to have a shelf life of several months, or years. They are preserved. If you leave them outside on your deck, you will find they break down very slowly, if it all. Shelf life renders them nearly useless as nutrition for our finely tuned digestive systems.

Let's take a radical departure from all that, and take a ride down to the farm.

Unlike the produce at the health food store which gets flown in by jet from commercial farms in far away California, Washington, Mexico and New Zealand, this food gets wheel-barrowed or tractored in from the rolling hills surrounding the barn. This food has a small carbon footprint.

And here are your farmers: they might be a couple with two little kids, or a couple of Ag students learning the ropes via mentorship, or it might be an extended family with Greats, Grands, Aunts, Uncles, Parents, Cousins and Kids working the land they have farmed for several centuries.

They might be Michelin gourmet with 3 kinds of mizuna and 11 kinds of basil, or they might be country with piles of tomatoes, peaches, plums, pears, zucchini and apples. They might be meat farmers with chickens, cows and pigs. Or dairy farmers with a line of sublime cheeses and ice cream. They might even be brewing, fermenting, or distilling their hops, grapes, apples and barley into tasty beverages.

Whatever they grow, they nurture and nourish with their hands, hearts, experience, love and their sweat. 

Whole foods look like how they come out of the ground, off the tree, or off the animal. An apple is an apple, no wax, all different varieties, juicy, flavorful and literally MOUTH WATERING. ShopRite apples aren't like this and Apple Fruit Rollups are definitely not at all like this.

And I say, there are no bad vegetables, only bad cooks.

Once you've eaten fresh from the farm, it's easier to switch from overly processed ‘food products’ to a diet rich in whole foods. Small farms rotate crops. They use manure and compost. They work the land, feed the land and then, let the land rest, so that it remains productive.

Shopping from local farms reinforces community!

Not only does shopping at the farm help your diet, but it also places your family back into the local food chain. Your hard earned dollars promote sustainable agricultural practices and stay in the community where they support Little League, the school Drama Club and food programs like Second Harvest.

Living in the Hudson Valley of New York, we have a wealth of locally grown and raised foods. For our family's health and the strength of our local economies, let us all work together and make conscious food choices, supporting our local farmers.