Eat better this spring.
“Shall I not have intelligence with the earth? Am I not partly leaves and vegetable mould myself?” —Henry David Thoreau
Unless you’re living at poverty line, there’s no reason to fill your gullet with crappy, mass-produced food from corporate giants. Not only are you sending your hard-earned dollars outside your own town, to pad the already-overflowing pockets of some executive in the Midwest, but you’re pretty much poisoning your body. Why disregard both your neighbors and your health when you don’t have to? The Gallatin Valley teems with local-food options, and regardless of what you might think, it’s perfectly affordable. You just have to think outside the (big) box—and maybe shuffle your expenditures a bit. Change that daily double-latte to drip, cook at home instead of eating out four times a week, and change your own oil once in a while—in no time at all, you’ll have plenty of extra cash to spend on local, organic upgrades. And veggies from a Bozeman-area farm is only one way to eat local—with a little imagination and a few hours each week, you can fulfill all your protein needs, too.
Share the Bounty: CSAs explained
If you’re looking for fresh food straight from the source, look no further than the bevy of Community Supported Agriculture programs—aka, CSAs—right here in Bozeman. Here’s how they work: producers offer annual shares, or memberships, to consumers, who in turn get fresh, local goods every week. This up-front payment ensures producers will have enough cash on hand throughout the year, and covers them for any unforeseen circumstances. “If it hails in the middle of the season or frosts too early, the risk is distributed among the people invested in the crop that season,” says Rebecca Kurnick of Market Day Foods, a locals-foods distributor. “Everyone who’s paid for the CSA understands that there’s a risk.” The benefits of supporting local food production outweigh the risks, however, as it ensures a healthier, more sustainable valley that will continue to carry on a legacy of agriculture and open space. Browse a list of CSA options here.
Can’t make it to the market but still want to eat local? Many area restaurants source at least a portion of their menu from Montana producers, so ask your server next time you’re out on the town. A select few go above and beyond when it comes to farm-to-fork dining, plus they’re also some of the best eats in town.
Keep It Close
Starting a garden, hunting for meat, and keeping a fish or two are all good ways to eat locally and sustainably. But some of us don’t have the skill, the time, the space, or the know-how to provide for ourselves. Luckily, locally produced, harvested, caught, and shot food abounds in Bozeman, and not only at the summer farmers’ markets. Fill your locavore’s belly any time of the year at these local stores.