The demand for locally sourced food is increasing for a number of reasons. For one, produce that’s sourced from across the country must be picked before it naturally ripens to avoid being damaged in transit. This means we lose the benefit of experiencing the peak of flavor and nutrition in some of our favorite foods. Fruits and vegetables also begin losing nutrients as soon as they’re harvested, so the more time that passes between farm and table, the less nutrients our food has.
Imported fruits and veggies are also bred to withstand a longer shelf life at the expense of flavor and nutrition. When we choose to support local growers, we have more opportunities to enjoy fresh, flavorful produce that’s full of nutrients. However, we also have to pay attention to seasonality—some of our favorite fruits and veggies are not available locally year-round, so it’s important to understand when to expect to be able to buy certain foods from your local farmer.
Thankfully, the Midwest has some of the most fertile soil in the entire country, which means we get to enjoy a variety of locally grown foods to satisfy our inner foodie. Look for these local crops that thrive in Kansas and Missouri:
- Leafy greens
- Summer squash
- Bell peppers
Looking for a place to buy local produce? The Overland Park Farmers’ Market has brought farm-fresh food to downtown Overland Park for over thirty years. Check out our Overland Park Farmers’ Market Guide to learn more about what you can find at the market, including what’s in season.