How to Buy the Best Organic Local Produce
A sensory feast awaits you in Martindale’s produce department. Seasons come and go: winter, spring, summer, autumn and with them sights, sounds and smells of natural vegetables, herbs, and fruit. Local produce provides the ultimate in freshness. We offer local produce when in season, and 100% of our produce is organic. Envision bright, cherry-red tomatoes; deep green rainbow chard standing at attention; fragrant spearmint that sends you floating throughout the store. Colder months find multi-colored squash of all shapes, root veggies, tasty mushrooms and more.
During the growing season, most of the produce that tingles your senses is not only organic – it’s local – from farms less than 100 miles away. And the good news: our farmers deliver produce to Martindale’s the same day it’s harvested. During the cold winter months, most of our produce comes from warm weather regions – and yes, it’s all organic!
Meet Our Farmers
Martindale’s has long and lasting relationships with our local farmers and values what they bring to the table. We continuously develop relationships with farmers so we can offer you the freshest produce around. Who are some of the local farmers delivering most days each week?
- E Fudd & Sons, West Chester
- Indian Orchard Farms, Media, PA
- Paradise Organics, Paradise, PA
- Four Seasons Produce: Lady Moon Farms, etc
- Lancaster Fresh Coop, Leola, PA
Why Buy Local Produce?
The simple answer: it’s fresher, healthier, tastes much better – and it’s all organic. When you stop to think that farmers not far from your home plant, grow, harvest and deliver that produce you’re preparing, it makes it all the more special and tasty. Close your eyes and salivate to tart apples with locally farmed raw milk cheese, cucumbers with local biodynamically farmed yogurt, or radishes with fresh local guacamole. Find it all here.
Besides being fresh-picked and organic, what sets our local produce apart is the care and concern our produce department places in prepping and displaying each apple, cuc, or leafy green you see.
Other reasons to buy local produce:
- Better for the environment – reducing shipping miles reduces the amount of carbon dioxide emissions
- Safer – Tomatoes, bananas and pears picked off-season are often artificially “ripened” with ethylene gas
- Preserves green space – local farmers are less likely to sell their land to developers if their farms are profitable
- Encourages young farmers to enter the field and sustain this wonderful movement
- Good for the local economy
Shopping for fresh, local produce at friendly markets may be just the ticket we need to feel healthier, protect the environment and keep our local farmers in business.
Local Produce – What It Is And Isn’t
However, whether you’re a true-blue locavore or new to shopping for local produce, it’s good to know what local produce is and isn’t and how to shop for local produce in our neck of the woods. There’s local produce and then … well, read on.
The term, “local produce” has no clear definition and is unregulated. Some states and chain supermarkets consider produce to be ‘local’ if it’s shipped within state lines, no matter how large the state – think Texas!
Local produce also does not necessarily mean that it’s grown on small family farms. For example, oranges grown in California are considered local, regardless of the size of the farm.
Our local produce currently comes from under about fifty miles. How fresh is that! Look for the tags indicating which items are local throughout the year.
Does Local Produce = Organic Produce?
Local produce is not necessarily organic. When you shop at local farmers’ markets or stands, make sure to check the labels or ask whether or not the produce is truly organic.
All of Martindale’s produce – fruits and vegetables – is organically grown, whether it’s local or not. When you shop here for produce, you don’t have to worry about reading labels.
For the Freshest Local Produce
The secret to buying local produce is to shop for produce that’s in-season. Here are a few examples of in-season produce by month in our region. Keep in mind that weather, such as the late spring we experienced in 2018, can affect the start of growing season. Additionally, our local organic farmers inform us that the organic harvest arrives bit later than conventional. Who knew? Therefore, the following are early estimations.
- First signs of spring – rhubarb, garlic and scallions
- May – asparagus, lettuce and kale
- June – blueberries, strawberries and cucumbers
- July/August – melons and sweet corn.
- July – October – broccoli, tomatoes
Online Tools for Easy Shopping
- PA Preferred Seasonal Calendar displays fruits and vegetables and months they are in-season in chart form.
Remember that organic produce ripens up a bit later than conventional, so add some time to the guide, above.
Next time you shop at Martindale’s, shop our produce section. There is no shortage of variety with our fruits and veggies. In addition to our local produce, we sometimes offer exotic fruits and vegetables. Be sure to check out our produce department throughout the whole year!