I grew up in NJ - the "Garden State" - and now live in Iowa, where yes, I've heard every corn and cow joke known to man.
However, it wasn't until I lived in the Midwest that I began to really look at where the food I was feeding my family was coming from. My move out here coincided with my crash into the gluten-free Whole Foods lifestyle we now live and it seems like the timing was almost perfect in a way.
In order to reduce the artificial ingredients, hormones, and pesticides going into our bodies, we began buying grass-fed meat, local farm-fresh eggs, and organic produce.
We also began to support local farmers and merchants and began doing most of our weekly shopping at the farmer's market where we could. We can get everything from free-range chickens to salad greens to fresh goat cheese to homemade jams and salsa to hand-knitted scarves and hats and - my favorite - the coffee truck.
Our children love coming with us and on the warm spring and summer days, we sip tea or lemonade as we walk up and down the aisles, talking to the farmers who grew the food, eating local fresh fruits and veggies. It's such a great learning experience and they learn what Real Food is, where it comes from, how to make healthy choices, and support local agriculture.
I know that these products can be more expensive and I understand that not everyone can always afford these options. But there's also some products like strawberries and apples that I think should be bought organic whenever possible due to the way pesticides can leak in through the porous fruit or sit on the skin we eat. When in doubt on which organic produce is the most important, I refer to The Dirty Dozen - a list of the 12 fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide content.
I've also found that simply by meeting and talking with the local farmers, you can learn their farming practices, and though they may not be "certified organic" (a process that is very rigorous), they may use organic farming practices. This is another great reason to get out to the farmer's market when you can!
Do you have a local farmer's market that you visit? Do you buy organic or local products from your supermarket? Do you teach your kids where their food comes from?