Lessons Learned (Local Food Challenge final thoughts)

     It's nearing the end of my "local food challenge" experiment, and I feel that I learned a lot from doing it. I found out, for example, that Oregon is the largest producer of hazelnuts in the country, and that our wide variety of local fruits and vegetables come with the downside of shorter growing seasons.
     Speaking of fruits and vegetables, over the past few weeks I have tried the freshest strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries I have ever eaten. I also learned that the winter is the worst time to begin a diet based on local foods, as there aren't as many fresh markets open, and heavy snow can make it difficult to get to the ones that are.
     In the end, I feel that I have come to appreciate a happy medium. In the future I will be on the lookout for local foods, both for their quality but also to support local growers. I have also learned to be a better label-reader and product researcher, so that when I do buy something that traveled a great distance to me, I know exactly where it came from, whats in it, and what the label isn't telling me.
     No matter what diet you choose for yourself and your family, being an informed shopper and eater is probably the best tool that you can have at your disposal.