We live in a world where it’s easy to swing by the grocery store and take your pick from a wide selection of foods shipped from all corners of the world. But some are choosing to limit or completely eliminate their consumption of foods from far off lands, and focus on foods produced closer at hand. The local food movement is growing, and with terms like “locavore” and “farm-to-table” popping up more and more often, you’ve probably heard of it at least once. But maybe you’re wondering what all the buzz is about? We’ve rounded up four reasons you might consider eating more local foods, as well as some great sources for local foods and farm fun in the Front Royal area. With spring well underway, a new season of fresh local produce is beginning, and it’s a great time to explore Front Royal’s local farms.
1. Eating Local Is Better For You
It might be hard to believe there’s any difference between eating spinach shipped from Peru versus eating spinach raised on a local farm (or in your own backyard!). But evidence suggests that locally grown food is better for you. It’s fresher, of course, and it’s been shown to contain more nutrients than food shipped over long distances. It only makes sense when you think about it. After all, eating local is part of nature’s design for humans! Most people through history have eaten primarily what could be produced or gathered from nearby, with goods from far off being more of an occasional treat or luxury (if available at all!).
2. Eating Local Improves Food Security
When you eat foods shipped from far away, you’re dependent on a long chain of people and machines all being able to do their jobs. When you eat local, it’s just between you and the farmer. There are many fewer possibilities for disrupting such a short supply chain.
3. Eating Local Supports Your Neighboring Farmers
Farmers do really important work! After all, food production has to come high on the list of human necessities. But as consumers turn more and more to grocery stores, it’s hard for the small famers to make a go of it. If a small farm can’t support itself by selling locally, the farmer will either quit or get swallowed up by big food corporations and become another link on a supply chain that’s too long! So support your local farmers today so they’ll still be there tomorrow when our world needs them!
4. Eating Local can be Fun and Convenient!
Eating local can be lots of fun. There’s something about taking a drive into the country and picking up your food right where it grew that a grocery store just can’t replace. Take it a step further by enjoying a “pick your own” outing, or planning a tour of the farm while you’re there.
Don’t have time for a trip to the farm? Many small scale farmers will meet at a designated pick up point or even deliver to your door, so eating local can be even more convenient than a trip to the grocery store!
Finding Local Food on Front Royal’s Farms
If you’re sold on incorporating more local foods into your diet, you’re probably wondering where to find them around Front Royal. If you want to buy directly from the farm, Front Royal has some great options. Check out Valley View Farm for a scenic and historic local farm where you can shop a “locavore farm market,” take a farm tour, and even enjoy a glass of locally produced cider, mead, or wine. Explore their CSA program for an affordable option that will bring a delicious stream of local produce your way all season long. If you’re looking for local grass fed beef, Cottonwood Ranch is a great place to start. Buy individual cuts, or choose the budget friendly options and fill your freezer with a whole, half, or quarter cow!
If you’re looking for more farm fun and pick-your-own options, Green Truck Farm and Hollins Farm are two more amazing local farms. Both are great destinations for fruit picking, starting as early as May. At Hollins Farm, you can come and harvest your own veggies as well as fruit.
To buy herb plants right from the farm, go to Sunflower Cottage farm. You’ll bring a little garden home with you. If you’re a lover of all things herbal, plan to attend the Virginia Herb Festival here (May 21-22 2022). Stop by the on-site Backroom Brewery to enjoy a beer from hops grown right there on the farm.
Most flowers aren’t edible, but bringing nature’s beauty into your home can feed the soul! For another fun, pick your own adventure, explore Clover Hill Farm, where you can pick your own flowers, as well as sign up for a gardening class. If you’re looking for a weekend of farm life, book a stay at Clover Hill’s Airbnb, and enjoy views of the farm’s Angus beef herd, as well as taking advantage of the flower operation.
Finding Local Food in Front Royal’s Stores
Sometimes, you just don’t have time to make it out to the farm for your food. The good news is that you can find farm fresh, local foods in Front Royal without having to head out to the countryside. Main Street’s Manor Line Market is a farm-to-table restaurant, alongside a local food market, all run by farmers from nearby Browntown. It’s a combination you’ll definitely want to check out. The Apple House, on the way out of town, is one of Front Royal’s favorite stops for ice cream, barbecue food, and apple cider donuts. Stop by the gift shop to find a range of Virginia products, raised and made by local farmers and artisans.
Super excited to share that on the first and third Saturdays of April through November, take your search for local foods to DL Community Market! This farmers market in Front Royal is a great place to find and support local farmers, cheesemakers, artisans, and more!
Take the time to explore Front Royal’s farms this growing season and you’ll find plenty of treasure are waiting for you. With a variety of local, healthy, and delicious food available from beautiful farms of the Shenandoah Valley, you may even find that shopping is as enjoyable as eating!
Healthy Life, Happy Life
It’s easy to fall into a sedentary lifestyle during the winter. The cold weather makes the great outdoors less inviting, and you may feel that all you want to do is cuddle up on the couch after work. However, keeping active during the winter is important for your mental and physical health. If exercise has been sporadic so far this winter, now is a great time to reset! Figure out a form of exercise that you enjoy, and that will be achievable for you to keep up with through rest of the winter.
Need some fresh ideas? The Front Royal area has some great options for indoor and winter-friendly activities that will get you up and moving. Read on for tips for staying active through the winter in Front Royal.
1. Join a Gym
With unpredictable weather conditions making it difficult to maintain an outdoor exercise routine, winter is a good time to join a gym. Going to a fresh new place to work out can help with motivation. So can working with a trainer, or signing up for an exercise class. Paying a gym membership gives you an additional motivational boost. If you’re money’s going towards your membership every month, you’re more likely to get out the door and use it.
You’ll find several fitness gyms in Front Royal. If you’re interested in CrossFit, try Battlegrounds Fitness or Rugged Terrain CrossFit. Both are conveniently located right in Front Royal, and offer the camaraderie and exceptional training that have made CrossFit popular across America.
Fitness Evolution and Anytime Fitness are traditional gyms with a range of standard gym equipment. Classes and individual training are available at both.
If you can’t fit in frequent trips to the gym, a membership could still be a good fit. Front Royal’s gyms offer virtual training. On the days you can’t make it to the gym, you can have the convenience of working out at home with the accountability and expertise of a professional coach. The best of both worlds!
2. Play an Indoor Sport
Some people find that working out is just . . . too boring! If playing a sport is more up your alley, winter can be a great time to explore indoor sports. Front Royal’s Dominion Health & Fitness Center is worth checking out. In addition to standard gym facilities, the center has an indoor pool, racquetball, and indoor tennis courts, as well as wallyball and basketball. Get involved in a sport you can play all year round!
3. Add Exercise into Your Normal Routine
If you’re not interested in structured gym workouts or sports, it’s still important to make some exercise a part of your life. For winter exercise success, look for ways to weave exercise into your normal activities. For example, when shopping, you might park at the far end of the parking lot. This article has some great tips for incorporating more exercise – even if you don’t have much time and money to dedicate to it.
One advantage of a small town like Front Royal is that many stores and restaurants are within walking distance of each other, especially in the historic downtown area. Next time you’re planning to run errands, see if you can’t figure out a route that minimizes driving, and increases walking. Getting outside and moving, even for a short time, can improve your health and your mood! In inclement weather, even walking around an indoor location such as a grocery store can be helpful.
4. Calm Your Mind and Improve Your Health - Try Yoga
"Functional Yoga can improve your daily life" - Wildfire Yoga. You can become calm, centered, and rejuvenated with yoga. Don't worry if you've never tried it, it's good for all levels of fitness and ages. It can improve your balance, flexibility, and strength. This practice can also improve pain levels among seniors, menopausal symptoms and more! The increase in energy and relaxation might be just what you need after a stressful 2020.
Wildfire Yoga offers in studio classes, private lessons, and online classes.
5. Reward yourself!
For some of us, the enjoyment that we get from exercising combined with the health benefits, is enough of an incentive to keep us going through a long winter. For others, getting motivated in winter is just . . . hard. If you fall into this second category, why not give yourself some kind of a reward to help make it through those tough days.
Set your own standards to challenge yourself and enjoy a sense of accomplishment. For example, you could treat yourself to a coffee on Main Street on Fridays if you have completed three workouts during the week. Or promise yourself a fun movie night at home if you’ve met your exercise goals.
For home bakers, consider patting yourself on the back by trying out a recipe for a healthy treat. You can indulge a little bit without undoing all of your hard work! Front Royal’s own Rugged Terrain Crossfit has a page with recipe ideas that you can enjoy without bringing on a sugar crash!
With the holidays over, and long winter months ahead, it’s easy to hit a slump in January. But the New Year can also be a great time for setting goals and establishing healthy habits. Try out one of these ideas for keeping active this winter. Your body (and your mood!) will thank you!
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