Farmers markets are a good source of locally grown food and can be found throughout the metro Atlanta area.
Photo: Contributed by Becky Stein
Photo: Contributed by Becky Stein

4 ways Atlantans can eat more locally grown food

Locally grown food has many benefits, including helping the environment as well as the area's economy. And the fresher food is, the better it generally tastes. Fortunately, metro Atlanta and the rest of Georgia enjoy a long growing season, which ensures a good variety of crops, from our iconic peaches to pecans to potatoes.

The following are four easy ways to eat more locally grown food:

>>RELATED: The questions you were too afraid to ask about healthy eating

Visit a local farmers market.

Farmers markets have evolved into more than just a place to buy food – although that's certainly the main attraction. Many also have tastings, cooking demonstrations and sometimes even music.

No matter which metro Atlanta county you live in, you'll have your choice of several farmers markets. Take the time to visit a few, and you may also find a new way to prepare one of your favorites or be introduced to a food you've never tried before.

Pick your own produce.

Go early in the day to avoid more scorching temperatures, and you can harvest your own produce at a variety of Atlanta area farms, including DJ's U-Pick Blueberry Farm, which is located near the Mall of Georgia, and Whitley Farms.

Buy a share in a farmer's crop.

You can buy a share in a farmer's crop at the beginning of the growing season, and in exchange, you'll receive a scheduled delivery – often weekly or monthly – of what they grow. This is frequently referred to as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), and it can also include the perk of getting to visit the farm once a year. If you have young children, this can be a great opportunity to help them learn more about and have a greater appreciation for the food they eat.

LocalHarvest maintains a list of CSAs in a particular area, so you can search for a participating farmer near Atlanta or search by ZIP code.

Eat at a restaurant that uses local foods.

The "farm to table" movement is popular at many of today's restaurants, so you can still enjoy local foods even if you don't feel like cooking. The following are among the Atlanta-area restaurants that highlight local foods:

Empire State South

999 Peachtree St. NE. 404-541-1105, empirestatesouth.com.

Chef/partner Hugh Acheson is well known for his creative Southern dishes that often use local foods.

Table & Main

1028 Canton St., Roswell. 678-869-5178, tableandmain.com.

From local cheese to vinegar sauce to Georgia trout, the menu reflects Table & Main's motto: "Simple. Seasonal. Southern."

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