BY KANDACE GALLANT
Going to a convenient grocery store may not be the best option.
In today’s society, we’re lucky to have so many different grocery stores offering a variety of different foods and products. Zehrs, Walmart, Food Basics etc., are some of the many that sell everything from kitchen appliances and roasting chickens, to toys, fruits and vegetables. Though these places may be a go-to for many people, there are some who disagree with buying food from them.
“I’m not saying that I never go to grocery stores, but usually it’s my last resort for things like vegetables and different cuts of meat,” said Lizzy Miller, a Mosborough Market employee. “I just like buying fresh local ingredients when they’re available and usually all the local meats are drug- and hormone-free, free range, and all-natural. That’s a selling point for me.”
Mosborough is located in Guelph and is known for their top quality produce and meat. They are a family-run country market that sells local farmers’ fruits and vegetables and all-natural meats. They are busy on a regular basis with customers who are dedicated to supporting their local farmers. They also sell farm fresh eggs from their free-range chicken, and even artwork.
“It’s important to a lot of people that they are buying locally,” said Miller. “I don’t know how many times a day people will ask me where a product is from, or how our cattle and chickens are raised. They care about where the food they’re putting in their bodies is coming from and how they (the animals) are treated. People respect the animals they consume and want to know if they are being raised ethically.”
She also said customers will comment on how they will not buy meat from grocery stores because they do not want to support factory farms, where they inject animals with hormones and treat them poorly. The cattle at Mosborough and Norwich, and the other family-run farms the pork comes from, are raised ethically in a stress-free environment. They are grain-fed, and are drug- and hormone-free. “We get a lot of compliments from people on the beef,” Miller said. “Customers always say they prefer ours over something they’ve bought at the grocery stores.”
Buying local not only supports your local farmers, it can also help with the economy since the money stays within the community, says the Sustainable Connections website (https://sustainableconnections.org/thinklocal/why). It also said it can help create better jobs for people and it puts your taxes to good use.
“Buying local can definitely be more expensive,” said Kirsten Harbin, who has worked at Mosborough for seven years. “I think it’s worth it though. You know that you’re getting good ingredients. They aren’t full of chemicals and are non-genetically modified and they’re incredibly fresh.”
Different countries that send their produce overseas to other places are most likely to include genetically modified substances (GMOs).
“Many GMO produce is sold at grocery stores,” Harbin said. “I do go to the grocery store every once in a while, especially when something is out of season and we don’t have it at the market anymore, but I mainly stick to local produce. Especially locally raised meats.”
Harbin agreed, saying that she gets a lot of customers asking her where different produce is from to ensure that it is local. “It matters to everyone who comes in the door,” she said. “People will ask where everything is from, from grapes to raspberries, to the tomatoes. If we tell them a product they’re buying isn’t local, they won’t buy it. Customers even want all the local artwork that we sell too, to support our local artists.”
In addition to raising cattle, they also grow their own produce, which is non-GMO, from corn to pumpkins. “When it’s corn season, we go through so many bins of it I can’t even count,” Harbin said. “And the first thing people will ask is, ‘Is it non-GMO or grown around here?’”
Miller said, “I agree that it is more expensive for some things. But I would much rather spend my money on locally grown vegetables and raised meats because I know the quality is better and I’m the one consuming it. And most importantly it helps to support the local farmers. Without us they wouldn’t be able to give us what we want or need.”
“Try not to think of the expense of things,” said Harbin on local shopping. “Think of it as helping your local artists and your local farmers and the quality that you’re buying or consuming.”