If you live in the Southeast, it’s a question you should ask yourself as you stroll through your local supermarket eyeing the beautiful crops lining the produce cooler shelves. With around 2.3 million acres of fresh market vegetables planted in the United States in 2019, California grew 972,000 of those acres. Now that’s a lot of fruits and veggies.
But what does it take to get those tasty beauties across the country to those of us living on the East Coast? Well, one major growing area in California, Salinas, is over 2,900 miles from sunny Miami Florida, and just shy of 3,000 miles to Hunts Point Market in New York. This brings to light the conversations about freshness, shelf life, flavor, and environmental impacts.
The distance from Oxnard California to Bronx New York is 2,996 miles.
Food miles are the distance food travels from harvest to you, the consumer. The typical travel time from the sunny west coast for food is 3-6 days. Once the food arrives it will then go through distribution channels for many more days to weeks before finally ending up on the produce aisle.
Did you know that the Southeast grows most of the same fresh fruits and vegetables? Many farmers are consistently planting to ensure a steady supply, even with fewer acres than the west. Florida is less than half the ride to New York shaving days off the time that lettuce waits to be prepared in your kitchen.
So here is the question – do you know how far your food travels? Wouldn’t you like to get food from your corner of the country? Don’t be afraid to ask where your produce comes from. It lets the supermarkets know that you care.
Eat Healthy. Eat Fresh. Eat Worthy.