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By: The Villages | Jun 22, 2022

Get High-Quality Ingredients When You Shop Local

There is a great level of comfort and connection in knowing the source of where our food comes from. Food connects us to others, it’s a symbol of love.

Or as James Beard so eloquently put it: “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.” This universal experience often happens around the table with loved ones, friends, colleagues, or while trolling a local market engaging with farmers and food artisans.

The connection point only deepens when Local Food, with Local Roots, is served at the table. Knowing where your food comes from allows you to make informed decisions on what is being served at your family’s dinner table, maximizing your ability to ensure that what you serve is fresh and full of vital nutrients, and of the highest quality and taste satiation.

While there certainly has been a trend in local food over the last decade, COVID has increased an awareness to support the producers in our community. After all, many of our local food producers were there for the community when the grocer’s shelves were empty. Their handcrafted foods and beverages provided a gourmet experience for us while we were home and missing the connections.

However, many producers still relied on face-to-face interactions, while foodservice businesses slowed in growth. Many companies struggled when farmers markets and restaurants shut down. With a return to somewhat of a normalcy, artisanal, hand-crafted products are now on the rise.

Artisan producers, also referred to as “artisans,” create products on a small-scale (or “small batch”). They utilize production methods and ingredients that have traditionally been used for food production. Typically, an artisan has a particular craft they are known for. The food ingredients they choose to work generally consists of high-quality ingredients that are devoid of preservatives, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, thickeners, or chemicals.

Further, their interest in is in long-term sustainability and reducing food miles. Their craft is often indicative of their family history (passed down from generations); a respect for their region; or simply a passion to bring optimal wellness to their community.

It is through these crafts that we get to explore a diversity of culinary experiences. These crafts allow us to honor the era prior to industrialization of our food supply when food was considerably purer.

The rise of the SUPERmarket, with all its conveniences, can sometimes lead to a disconnect between what we put into our bodies and where it comes from. People have forgotten that “food is fuel,” after all. What we put into our bodies is a direct correlation to what we get out of our bodies. We, quite literally, “are what we eat.”

If your aim is to live a long, healthy, and active lifestyle; knowing where your food comes from should be at the forefront of your shopping experience and meal planning decisions. Many of your local farmers are producing food that is grown to organic standards, whether they possess the certification.

The Villages Grown retail store will be launching at the new Sawgrass Grove Market. In addition to its extensive Local Farm produce offerings, the store will feature an expanded array of Local Artisans from regions throughout Florida.

These items have been curated by The Villages Grown team and they share in the company’s plant-forward, clean, and pure mission that “food is medicine.” Product categories include fermented foods and beverages such as kombucha, fresh juices, teas, hand-made breads, local honey, plant-based (alternative) proteins, local eggs of all kinds, and the like.

The new store will feature full lines of healthy, plant-forward Grab-N-Go meals such as soups, salads, sandwiches, pastas, and even southern vegan comfort foods.

The store will also feature holistic personal care and health and wellness products. The Villages Grown is always looking to support local farms and local artisans who have a passion to create plant-based health and wellness products. New items will be added each month as the seasons change.

Rebecca Miller is director of operations at The Villages Grown. You can find The Villages Grown local produce and plant-forward artisanal items at the following retailers in The Villages: The Villages Grown Retail Store (Brownwood Paddock Square); Publix Super Markets throughout The Villages; Earth Fare, Lady Lake; Various Restaurants, Hospitals and Assisted Living Facilities within The Villages community.

You can now have The Villages Grown Produce Boxes along with Healthy, Ready-to-Eat Meals delivered right to your doorstep on a weekly basis through our partnership with Heirloom:

Rebecca Miller, Director of Operations at The Villages Grown