Did you know the ingredients in an average meal have traveled about 1500 miles to get to your table? Eating locally not only provides you with great benefits, but the Mount Pleasant community wins too. Here are some reasons and places to eat local:
1. Locally Grown Foods Are Fresher: Produce purchased from a supermarket may have been in storage or transit for weeks, but produce at a local farmers market is often picked within 24 hours of purchase. This also helps with the taste and nutrition of the food. Can’t make it to the farmers market? 

Try GreenTree Cooperative Grocery for your produce needs. They offer a wide variety of local, organic and allergen-free foods. They also offer a Grab-n-Go Deli which is perfect when you need a quick snack. GreenTree is located at 214. N. Franklin.  

2. Locally Grown Foods Taste Better: Locally grown foods stay fresher and keep longer because they have not been sitting around as long as produce found in supermarkets. If you think you can’t taste the difference between a just picked tomato and one that was picked last week and shipped to a grocery store? You can. And when you’ve been deprived of fresh corn, tomatoes, apples, etc. for eight or nine months, nothing tastes better than taking your first bite of the season from just picked produce. 
How about learning a new recipe to use with your fresh produce? A neat idea for you to try is the Market on Main Chat n’ Chop. You will get a hands-on cooking demonstration with a local expert. Contact the Market at 989-317-9171 for dates and times. Become a fan on Facebook! 
3. Locally Grown Foods Are More Nutritious: Vitamins and minerals present in locally grown produce have a higher content than in foods that have traveled a long distance. Produce begins to break down as soon as it’s off the vine; this includes the breaking down of essential nutrients. This makes fresher fruits and veggies naturally more nutritious. 

The Brass Café in downtown Mount Pleasant features local produce on their menu from the local farmers and herbs straight from their own garden; you can’t get much fresher than that! Stop by and check it out at 128 S. Main St.  

4. Locally Grown Foods Support Your Local Economy: When you spend money at the local farmer’s market or with local growers, your money stays close to home. The money you spend is more likely to end up in the hands of the people who are growing it rather than being handed over to a corporation. It also brings a better sense of the word community to the Mount Pleasant area when you interact with neighbors at the farmer’s market rather than pushing a cart around a grocery store. And it’s not just food that is grown here in Mount Pleasant; give the Mount Pleasant Brewing Company a try. They offer distinctive ales and lagers that have been popular for years. You can find their beers throughout the state of Michigan. The brewery is located at 614 W. Pickard. 
5. Locally Grown Foods Help Conserve Energy: Because food travels approximately 1500 miles, you will be helping to save the environment by conserving fossil fuels that contribute to pollution. It is far better to avoid contributing to a large carbon footprint by purchasing locally grown food. 

Don’t feel like cooking? Head to dinner at a locally owned restaurant to help support those that have brought their business to Mount Pleasant. Some locally owned restaurants include: Italian Oven where you can get hot risotto and other Italian dishes, the Pixie get a hot dog and shake at this fifties style diner, The Cabin famous for their Cabin Sticks and pizza, or Mountain Town Station where you can enjoy their award winning ribs with their very own hand crafted beer.

So, when seasonally available (June-October Thursday, 7:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.), check out the farmers market. You’ll be helping the Mount Pleasant area economy and you’ll be getting better health benefits for yourself. When the farmer’s market is not in season try looking for “Made in Michigan” labels when you visit the grocery store. Want to add meat to your produce selection?  Grahams Organics is a local farm offering certified organic beef, chicken, turkey and eggs. They are located at 3654 Weidman Rd. in Rosebush. Or if you are looking to go out to eat, check out our list of restaurants that offer locally grown produce and meats.