You’ve heard of vegetarians, pescetarians and vegans, but have you heard of locavores? A locavore is a person who makes an effort to only eat food that is grown or harvested locally, rather than foods that need to be moved long distances to get into markets. Locavores consider local to be food that is grown within 100 miles of where it’s purchased or consumed.
This movement was sparked as a result of people’s interest in sustainability and being eco-conscious. While that is a very important aspect of being a locavore, there are also health benefits to this style of eating.
First, eating a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables has long been linked to a healthy weight, lower risk of health conditions and generally being a healthier individual overall. Shopping at nearby farms is almost a guarantee that you’ll be eating plenty of fresh produce. In addition, fresh foods that have been picked just a few days or weeks ago tend to have more nutrients.
Eating local foods also means that you’re more likely to be consuming plenty of fresh, unprocessed foods instead of prepared meals high in sodium and fat.
This locavore lifestyle doesn’t need to be limited to when you’re home. You can also employ it while traveling. Here are some of the best locavore destinations.
Head to the Tongchuan Lu Wet Market – Shanghai’s biggest fish market is open 24 hours a day, selling the freshest seafood around. Here, you’ll be faced with a slew of sea vendors with whom you can bargain for fresh lobsters, crabs, and abalones. Once you find and negotiate for your fresh catch, you can take it back and cook it yourself. Or you can take it to one of the restaurants along Tongchuan Lu and around the corner on Lanxi Lu where they’ll cook your catch to your liking.
Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast is a destination dreams are made of. In Minori, a scenic seaside town, you can stay at Hotel Villa Romana for a delicious locavore stay. This hotel offers a package that includes a tasting tour of Minori including assorted local salami, fresh mozzarella, local fish and produce, homemade pasta and more. A guide will take you out to a sea-front promenade where you can peruse local products and view demonstrations to see how mozzarella and limoncello are produced. A chef at the hotel hosts cooking lessons to show you how to prepare local dishes.
There are a number of restaurants here that utilize the island’s bountiful local produce to create dishes with fresh flavor. In fact, one of those restaurants is appropriately called Locavore, at which about 95 percent of the ingredients are from Indonesia. They use produce from their own gardens as well as their own free-range pigs. Here you can find dishes such as pork loin with caramelized pineapple, mulberry jus and spinach. Other locavore restaurants in Bali include Merah Putih, Mejekawi, Cuca, and Bali Asli.
Whole Journeys hosts a Taste of Switzerland tour of Ticino, a town with a unique combination of Swiss and Italian cultures stretching from the snow-capped Swiss Alps to the Mediterranean climate. This tour takes you hiking while learning how some of the region’s most sought after cheeses are produced. Throughout the tour, you visit local cheese artisans, medieval churches and a winery that produces the local Meride Merlot.
Photo from Lonely Planet.