Many people have equated the word fresh with local. A recent blog in the Missoulian discusses the challenge with consumers and chefs wanting fresh beef when often the best way to get a high quality piece of beef is to have it frozen. In truth, having fresh meat, properly aged then frozen means a supply chain that can harvest animals at the time of year when they are at their nutritional peak because the forage they are eating is full of minerals and vitamins. Trying to keep a supply of fresh meat at all times can result in a lot of wasted food and increased cost for the producers which leads to more cost for the consumer.
Even with vegetables there is some similar scenario of privileging fresh over frozen when it comes to quality (given that fresh is a relative term which sometimes just equates to not having been frozen but having already lost most of its nutritional profile). In a Washington Post article the author noted that it’s how the food was grown and handled that will influence the end product of frozen vegetables. The quicker something is frozen, the more it can retain the nutrients and vegetables. In fact, as a Daily Mail article points out “Within three days of vegetables being pulled from the ground, 80 per cent of vitamin C is naturally lost from them and most ‘fresh’ food has a useful nutritional lifespan of up to five days.”
Obviously if one has the time and money, getting food the same day it was harvested and cooking it fresh is the ideal. If you can’t do that, then look for local products that have a good reputation for high nutrient density even in their processed form. The less processed the better, and less added ingredients the better. Working with local producers and filling your own freezer with meat and vegetables during times of plenty is a great option for supporting local food and reducing the cost of that high quality food.
Holistic Management producers are focused on growing healthy soil which results in healthy, nutrient dense food for their communities. Many work to sell directly to their local communities, like Heather Driscoll of Green Valley Farm. Connect with people like Heather on our community page so you can feed your family healthy food while improving the environment.
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