Cooking starts with choosing ingredients. The fastest way to improve a recipe is to start with the very best ingredients. Shopping small can help you do that.

When you shop at the farmer’s market, a local grower’s stand, a small specialty producer, the neighborhood grocer who specializes in local produce or even your own garden, you get produce that is fresh and unique. But more importantly, it is chosen and grown for taste and not for how well it keeps on the shelf or survives a long trip to the store. That’s where you will find produce with the most flavor.

As an added bonus, when you shop local you are helping employ people in your neighborhood. We routinely shop at the farmer’s market and know some of the growers in our area. And if that isn’t enough, you are leaving a smaller carbon footprint when you buy produce that has not been shipped for hundreds of miles.

Check out our shopping small posts for some ideas on where to find the best ingredients.