7960319289?profile=originalSvetlana Simon’s heirloom hens lay colorful eggs at her farm west of Boynton Beach. You can buy free-range eggs like these, plus locally produced cheeses and vegetables at local green markets. Photos by Jerry Lower

By Deborah S. Hartz-Seeley

Eating locally grown foods is trendy.
 Whether you are a locavore who only consumes foods produced within 100 miles of home or someone who just wants to enjoy a truly vine-ripened tomato once in a while, you are part of the growing crop of people buying their produce from local farmers.
“It’s all about local growers and freshness,” says Roderick Smith, owner of Farm to Chef, a Lake Worth company that supplies restaurants with local produce. In fact, Smith claims that within six hours, corn picked in Pahokee, is shucked, chilled and on his truck ready to be delivered.
Geoffrey Sagrans has seen the buy-local trend grow quickly over the last two to three years. He’s the president of Localecopia, a nonprofit group that promotes local, sustainable businesses by bringing buyers and sellers together.
But even for the home cook, it’s relatively easy to buy local during the South Florida growing season that lasts from now until about May.
“When you buy local produce, there are no food miles involved. It’s all fresh, local, wholesome and nutritious,” Sagrans says. Food miles are how far your food has to travel to reach your plate. On average, produce covers 1,500 food miles, according to Sagrans.
He adds that by purchasing local produce, you get better flavor.  He explains that a tomato grown in California is picked green and then treated with gas to make it ripen. But a tomato grown and sold in Florida can be truly vine ripened.
“Those two tomatoes have whole different flavor profiles that are as different as day and night,” Sagrans says.
By purchasing local produce, you support the local economy. “They talk about creating jobs in Tallahassee and Washington, D.C., but we are actually creating them when we purchase food from local growers,” he says.
For those living in Palm Beach County, there are many options when it comes to buying local produce. Farm stands and local markets are carrying an increasing array of locally harvested items.
“We grow 90 percent of what we sell and the rest we purchase from our neighbors,” says Marie Bedner of Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market in Boynton Beach.
Here they also offer customer-picked strawberries and tomatoes beginning in December. It doesn’t get more local or fresher than that.

7960319856?profile=originalAnd farmers markets have become more than just a Saturday social event. However, if you want to be sure you are getting local produce at the market, ask the seller about the provenance of his fruits and veggies.
 If those goods are produced locally, chances are, you’ll be talking to the grower.
Peter Robinson, founder of the Oceanside Farmers Market on Lake Worth beach, allows only local produce to be sold at his markets.
He also is in charge of a new farmers market just opened at the Morse Life Campus in West Palm Beach.
Originally set up to help the 500-member staff at this senior living facility eat better, the market also is open to the public on Wednesdays.
Many people are signing up for community-supported agriculture ventures, or CSAs. You become a member by purchasing shares in a local farm, such as Green Cay Produce in Boynton Beach or Swank Specialty Produce in Loxahatchee. 
When the harvest is good, you take home a predetermined amount of fruits, vegetables and herbs or whatever else the farm produces. At Green Cay, you get a large or small box each week.
If there’s a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or invasion of pests, you and the farm share in the loss.
The selection of items you receive each week depends upon the harvest, of course.
“Everything we share is harvested from 1½ acres of our 20-acre farm,” says Jodi Swank, owner of Swank Specialty Produce. There’s plenty of room for this CSA to grow from its current 65 shareholders, she adds.
And at the Ocean Avenue Green Market Urban Farming Project, they not only offer produce to CSA members but sell their harvest at the Boynton Beach Green Market and Cafe, says executive director Sherry Johnson.
If you want to try growing your own fruits and veggies, but you don’t have the land for it, you can rent space in a community garden. At the Cason Community Garden at Cason United Methodist Church in Delray Beach, some growers have had good luck with tomatoes.          
Local foods
For a taste of local produce, here are some places to find it:
Farm Stands/Markets
• 4th Generation Organic Market, 75 SE Third St., Boca Raton, 338-9920, www.4thGenerationMarket.com
• Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market, 12033 State Road 7, Boynton Beach, 733-5490, www.bedners.com
• The Boys, 14378 S Military Trail, Delray Beach, 496-0810
• Harvest Time Market, 4361 Hypoluxo Road, Lantana, 641-6199, www.HarvestTimeMarket.com
• Woolbright Farmers Market, 141 SW Woolbright Road, Boynton Beach, 732-2454, www.woolbrightfarmersmarket.com

Green Markets
• Boca Raton Green Market, Royal Palm Place Shopping Center (corner of
South Federal Highway and South Mizner Boulevard), 368-6875,
www.ci.boca-raton.fl.us/rec/specialevents/, Saturday 8 am-1 pm.
• Delray Green Market, SE 4th Ave. a half block south of Atlantic Ave.,
Delray Beach, 276-7511, www.delraycra.org, Saturday 8 am-1 pm.
• Morse Life Green Market, 4847 Fred Gladstone Drive, West Palm Beach, 547-3100, Wednesday 1-5 pm.
• Ocean Avenue Green Market, 400 E. Boynton Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach, 752-8598, Saturday 8 am-
3 pm.
• The Oceanside Farmers Market, Lake Worth Beach south of The Four
Seasons Palm Beach, east of the Intracoastal waterway, 547-3100,
www.oceansidefarmersmarket.com/wordpress/, Saturday
8 am-1 pm.
• West Palm Beach GreenMarket, 101 N. Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach, 822-1515, www.wpb.org/greenmarket, Saturday 8 am-1 pm.

CSAs
• Aaldmon Farm, 5470 Colbright Road, Lake Worth,  294-5797, www.aaldmonfarm.com
• Green Cay Produce, Boynton Beach, 638-2755, www.veggies4u.com
• Ocean Avenue Green Market Urban Farming Project, 400 E. Boynton Beach
Blvd., Boynton Beach, 752-8598,
www.localharvest.org/ocean-ave-green-market-urban-farming-project-M32315.
• Swank Specialty Produce, 14311 North Road, Loxahatchee, 202-5648, www.swankspecialtyproduce.com

Community Gardens
• Bedner’s Farm Fresh Market (see above), strawberries and tomatoes
• The Cason Community Garden, Cason United Methodist Church, 342 N.
Swinton Ave., Delray Beach, 271-2010,  casonumc.org/CommunityGarden.html
Customer-picked (call for availability)
• The Girls Strawberry U-Pick 14466 S. Military Trail, Suite 3, Delray Beach, 496-0188, www.thegirlsstrawberryupick.com
• Harvest Time Market (see above), strawberries

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