Five Ways To Eat Local Throughout The Year

home inspector charlotteFall is a great time for enthusiasts of fresh and local food. Farmers’ markets are overflowing with tasty produce at harvest time, and if you’ve worked long and hard on your home garden, it’s time to reap the rewards. Fresh food is harder to come by once the last leaves fall and the frost sets in, but there are still a number of ways you can keep your commitment to eating locally alive year-round.

While getting fresh produce from nearby sources isn’t a year-round option for many Americans, it’s still possible to continue to enjoy healthy regional, seasonal food in a number of other ways. Whether it’s buying a basket of fresh tomatoes, green beans, or peaches, and canning or blanching and freezing them for future use, or dining at a restaurant that focuses on using local ingredients, it’s possible to continue your green dining habits throughout the year.

Engaging people who are interested in living healthier and greener, Good Housekeeping partnered with LG Electronics this fall on a “Living Greener” initiative, showing consumers across the country how to make the most of local produce and other healthy foods. The program encourages a greener lifestyle, providing consumers with tips and ideas for efficient products, such as LG’s new refrigerator. The refrigerator recently earned the Good Housekeeping Seal, and includes a Smart Cooling System that maintains superior humidity and temperature levels to help keep food fresh longer. And at 31 cubic feet, it has the largest storage capacity available in its class and can easily accommodate bushels of produce.

Susan Westmoreland, food director of the Good Housekeeping Research Institute offers these tips to keep eating local even after the growing season is done:

* Support year-round CSAs and farmers markets. To join a Community Support Agriculture you pay a set amount of money for a portion of what the farm or group of farms produce, usually delivered every week or so. Farmers’ markets may feature meat, cheese and eggs in addition to colder weather vegetables that keep well, like winter squash and onions. Since both of these are relatively new concepts, you may not be fortunate enough to have both options in your neighborhood. Check out for more information. Then, embrace your luck, shop and eat well.

* Make good use of your refrigerator and freezer. When you are bringing home a bunch of produce, you know the importance of finding space in your refrigerator to preserve the veggies you won’t use right away. But at the end of the season, a great way to make your veggies last longer is to blanch (cook in boiling water for 1 minute) then cool completely, bag and freeze them for later use in stir fries and pasta dishes. To freeze berries, simply rinse and freeze in a single layer until hard, transfer to zip seal bags and freeze for desserts or add a handful to brighten any winter cereal bowl.

* Can and preserve. Another great way to preserve your fresh-picked produce for the colder months is to can, pickle or process it. Your surplus tomatoes can be turned to salsa or tomato sauce for winter and your bounty of cucumbers can be transformed into tasty dill pickles. For both freezing and canning, do some research to make sure you are safely preserving your food. In addition to some great books on the subject, Internet resources like the Daily Green are a great place to start.

* Stock up on hearty vegetables. Vegetables like onions, potatoes and squash are not only some of the last to be picked during the growing season, but also some of the heartiest and longest lasting produce available. Even if you don’t have a root cellar, you can extend the life of these vegetables even further by storing them in a cooler part of your home like the basement or a garage.

* Patronize restaurants that focus year-round on the freshest, healthiest ingredients. These days, many restaurants aim to get as many ingredients as possible, from vegetables to fish and meat, from local sources. Visiting these restaurants is a great way to help sustain your local food industry.

By firming up your commitment to eating local throughout the year, you’ll help your local economy while also decreasing your carbon food print. And on top of it all, you’ll be rewarded with delicious meals for every season.

Living Green Outside the Home

Living green outside of the home
– Do you know if your apartment building, place of employment, or favorite hotel is operating efficiently? Even the seemingly minor decisions we make each day can have a significant impact on our health, finances and surrounding environment. While most people know about the small changes they can make at home to have a positive impact, including using natural products, recycling and reducing waste and installing efficient appliances and fixtures, they may not know how easy it is to make the same environmentally friendly choices outside the home. Energy efficiency and water conservation continue to gain visibility in the commercial building sector, too.

The ENERGY STAR program, jointly administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), offers technical information and tools to help people identify energy-efficient products, solutions, and practices. It serves as a mark of excellence in energy performance. Did you know you can learn whether a building, such as the one in which you work, is ENERGY STAR labeled? It’s as easy as visiting the ENERGY STAR website and searching the online index.

The WaterSense program is another EPA partnership program that aims to raise awareness about the importance of water usage by labeling water-efficient products, such as bath faucets, urinals, showerheads and toilets, that perform better than the industry standard. It also encourages plumbing manufacturers to design new products with its specifications in mind so consumers and businesses can more easily find water-efficient products.

This year, Delta Faucet Company was honored as 2011 WaterSense Manufacturer Partner of the Year. Delta Faucet has an array of WaterSense labeled products as part of its commitment to finding a smarter way to work with water. Launched in 2008, the WaterSense Partner of the Year awards recognize partners that help advance the overall mission of the WaterSense program, demonstrate overall excellence in the water-efficiency arena and increase awareness of the WaterSense goals in a measurable way. Each year, the program recognizes just one manufacturer that demonstrates exceptional performance in each of these areas. As part of its commitment to sustainability and support of the WaterSense program, Delta Faucet Company develops products that promote water efficiency in both residential and commercial settings.

Additionally, in 2009, Delta Faucet introduced an additional water-efficient product separate from its WaterSense labeled products. The new technology is specifically designed to improve water efficiency in commercial and business settings. Proximity Sensing Technology is more sensitive and intuitive than traditional infrared hands-free faucets. A four-inch sensing field around the entire faucet detects movement and controls the flow of water. Users don’t need to touch the faucet to turn the water on and when they move their hands out of the sensing field, the valve automatically turns off, helping to save water.

Want to factor some of these resources into your upcoming travel plans? According to the EPA and the DOE, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and San Francisco are among the most environmentally conscious cities in the United States, based on their number of ENERGY STAR certifications.

As consumers, we can all be more environmentally conscious while we travel by looking into hotels that take pride in green building. The Hospitality Sustainable Purchasing Consortium (HSPC) is a movement led by top experts, suppliers, architectural firms and purchasing companies, such as Delta Faucet Company, Marriot International and Valley Forge Fabrics, to encourage environmental endurance measurement and develop key performance indicators for the hospitality industry. Visit the HSPC website to find participating hotel chains and manufacturers. If you’re still uncertain after researching your hotel online prior to booking, call and speak to someone at the hotel about their green initiatives.

“There are plenty of tools available online to help consumers reduce their carbon footprint and live more efficiently outside of the home,” says Ken Martin, senior director of commercial sales for Delta Faucet Company. “The goal is to make it easy for anyone and everyone to choose products and services that offer quality, value, service and sustainability.”

Living sustainably outside of the home, as well as within, is crucial when it comes to protecting the environment and preserving our natural resources. Tap into the many government and online resources available to help make practicing an environmentally friendly lifestyle even easier.