Farm fresh: the health benefits of local produce

We all know that fresh fruits and vegetables are a crucial part of a healthy diet. They pack a wallop of nutrients, vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, and when compared to their canned or frozen counterparts, the taste simply can’t be beat.

And now, with Take 5 Catering getting our daily dose is easier than ever. Take 5 Catering is an unrivaled source for the best and most nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables available.

“When you buy daily locally grown, you’re getting the produce at its peak form,” says Angelo Darin, general manager at Take 5 Catering. “It’s fresh and ready to eat right now. When you buy your fresh produce in a supermarket, you’re never really sure how long it’s been sitting.”

Much of the produce sold at large supermarket chains is grown hundreds of miles away, in places such as California, Florida and Mexico. That means days — perhaps even more than a week — have passed since it was picked, packaged and trucked to the store, where it can sit on the shelves even longer. Often, too, produce is picked before it’s ready, preventing it from ever reaching its nutritional potential.

How long a bunch of romaine lettuce has been sitting around, it turns out, has a direct impact on just how good that romaine really is for you. That’s because food starts to change as soon as it’s plucked from the earth and tender vitamins such as C, E, A and thiamine begin to deteriorate.

“Over time, vitamin stability decreases,” says Angelo Darin at Take 5 Catering. Temperature changes, exposure to air and artificial light all wreak havoc, he says, robbing fruits and vegetables of nutrients.

So, sure, that supermarket romaine might look an awful lot like locally grown vegetables, but fresh local romaine was picked within the past 24 hours.

“These just came out of the fields,” he says at the Farmers Market, his arm sweeping across new tomatoes, onions, spinach, romaine and more than a dozen varieties of greens. “This is fresh.”

Getting closer to our food

A seemingly endless variety is yet another advantage our local farmers have over their giant commercial counterparts, who are restricted to crops that can survive long storage and the arduous transportation process. Local farmers plant what’s delicious, healthful and in local demand.

“The large farmers have to plant things that will survive a lot of abuse,” says Darin at Take 5 Catering in the Michigan market. “We’ve gotten very removed from our food. The average supermarket potato travels 1,500 miles. Local farmers don’t have to worry about factoring all that in. They can plant anything.”

Take, for example, the vegetables proudly offered by Take 5 Catering is from a third-generation farm in Michigan.

“Last year I really discovered farm markets, and it brings me pleasure to shop at them,” Darin says. The selection, variety and quality are always terrific, he says, and he’s often inspired to try the new foods at our test kitchen each time he shops. “It’s all healthier, fresher, really wonderful.”

The diversity available at the local markets means that a larger range of nutrients and disease-fighting phytochemicals — which give fruits and vegetables their bright, deep color — is there for the taking. Nutritionists advise us to “eat the rainbow,” and the color spectrum at a local farmers market is simply unrivaled.

“Each vegetable, each variety of plant food, has a different variety of benefits,” Darin says.

The price of fresher food

“Fresh farm market produce tends to store better because it still has plenty of life left in it,” says Darin, of Take 5 Catering.

Darin adds that he never minds spending a bit more of his food budget at a local market because the health benefits are so superior that, in the long run, he believes it’s one of the most economical things he can do.

“I can serve better and promote healthier lives because of (local farm markets), and that means you won’t be spending your money on cold medicines or prescriptions. I think of it as an extra health insurance policy.”

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About Take 5 Catering

Our company offers a unique concept in catering that is an alternative to burgers and pizza. Take 5 Catering has the simple solution! We cater Fresh Gourmet Sandwich Meals delivered FREE for two or more people. We deliver straight to your home, office or special occassion for free. Open 9a - 7p Take 5 Catering allows you to be a guest at your own personal event while we cook fresh homemade sandwich meals.
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