Local vs. off the shelf

Have you ever thought it’s odd that you can buy pineapples year-round off the supermarket shelves but can never grow them locally? A huge amount of emissions, science and waste is behind the process that allows you ease and access to ‘fresh’ produce off the supermarket shelves year-round. 

This blog will discuss the benefits and drawbacks of local and off the shelf produce. Giving a (hopefully) unbiased analysis on which is better. 

Off the shelf

Off the shelf, produce is ‘fresh’ food you can buy from your supermarket shelves year-round. You will often find it easy to grab and easy to use as it seems to stay fresh for weeks on end. The true secret behind this produce is that it is kept in temperature-controlled storage for up to 18 months in order to ensure customers can purchase their favourite ‘fresh’ food year-round. Once this produce gets to your shelves it can sit there for a few days, slowly deteriorating until you make the decision to purchase it. After this, it can hang around in your fridge for a while until you decide to use it. 

Overall this process results in negative environmental effects, less nutrient-dense produce and food that does not taste as good. While there are many benefits to off the shelf produce such as easy, convenient access that is often at an affordable price, there are large costs to this convenience. 

Local

Local produce is grown within a particular area within a small radius of your home. This produce doesn’t always look as nice as the off the shelf stuff. However, since it is truly fresh from the harvest it is packed full of all of the good stuff you expect it to have. Buying this produce helps to support smaller local farmers and businesses alongside those who have a passion for growing food in their backyard. 

Overall, local produce can be difficult to source as it may only be available at markets once or twice a week, can sometimes be more expensive (but can also sometimes be very cheap) and as it is truly fresh has a higher density of nutrients. 

So which is better? 

Urban Orchards is aiming to bring fresh food local. This is because we believe fresh local produce is best, however, don’t get us wrong! We do see the benefits in the off the shelf produce in terms of its accessibility. This is something Urban Orchards aims to change. We want to make fresh, local produce more accessible, year-round at an affordable price. 

If this sounds like something you want to be a part of you can sign up now.

Happy growing!

Nelson and the Urban Orchards team. 

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