This post was written by Heinen’s partner, Halle Snavely.
Have you ever done a taste test of a local farm fresh strawberry in June? It is a sensational experience. Farm fresh strawberries are sweet, juicy and have great texture and color. Every time I eat one, I remember that this is what the perfect strawberry tastes like.
There are actually over 600 varieties of strawberries, all varying in size, texture, flavor and structure. But the type of farm a strawberry is grown on determines the variety and the journey that strawberry takes. Like so many things in life, it’s the journey, not the destination.
Most strawberries sold in stores are grown on large-scale conventional and organic farms. Those varieties were chosen because they are durable and have a long shelf life. Most produce travels long distances before it reaches its final destination, so it has to hold up well on its journey from farm to packing facility to produce distributor to grocery store. Conventionally grown strawberries could have been harvested up to a week before reaching the store shelves.
Strawberries grown on local farms have a much different journey. Local farm fresh strawberries are usually harvested within a day of reaching you. This means you get the strawberry in its freshest state. Local farmers also have more flexibility when deciding what variety of strawberries to grow. They don’t have to worry about the berries holding up on a long cross-country truck ride. So local farmers are able to choose specific varieties for their enticing flavor and texture. The focus is on delivering the best strawberries to you without you having to pick them from a field.
When it comes to flavor, freshness plays a key factor. Our taste buds are an effective gauge for seeking out nutrient dense foods. Meaning, we are naturally attracted to foods that give our bodies the nutrition they need, solely based on our flavor preferences. Locally grown foods are only harvested when they are fully ripened, which is also when their nutrient levels are the highest.
Locally grown food is fresh, tastes great, is full of nutrition and you get the added benefit of enjoying unique varieties of produce that you can’t often find. Heinen’s believes it is important to know where your food comes from, so they can deliver the best quality produce to your table. This is why they source up to 70% of their produce locally during the growing season.