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!
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