EATING LOCAL ON THE ROAD
Feeding my family fresh healthy food is a priority and traveling by RV, whether for a year or for a weekend, makes it easy. Cooking in the RV allows us to eat healthy for less, spend quality time together, and it’s a great reason to get out and explore some unique local food options. If you want to add a little more adventure to your adventure, try visiting local farms and farmer’s markets on your next RV getaway.
A trip to the grocery story is an errand but a trip to the local farmers market is often an experience. Farmers markets can vary from a few farm stands to a community event with live music and activities for the kids. They are a great place to pick up the evening meal and while you are there, find a shady spot to enjoy those fresh strawberries you just bought while having some fun people watching.
Speaking of people, visiting local farmers markets is a great way to get a taste (no pun intended) of local culture by meeting, well, the locals! In Beaumont, SC we tried our first raw oysters after chatting with a local farmer. When he found out we had never had a raw oyster he insisted we eat the rest of his off his plate because they were a favorite local treat! We all had a good laugh and it made a fun memory. In West Virginia, we met a lovely young family who had decided to follow their dream and start an organic farm. They shared their story of starting a farm in the hills and their passion for growing organic food. It felt good to know our money was supporting a young family’s dream.
Not only will you find fresh produce and interesting people, you’ll often find an assortment of local handicrafts ranging from pet products to jewelry to soap and everything in-between. At a market in Oregon, I bought my mom an unique purse for Christmas that you wouldn’t find anywhere else!
Local farms are another fun and inexpensive way to find good food and meet interesting people. We’ve bought homemade cheese from Portuguese farmers in California and picked fresh berries off bushes in New York. If you think you might like to spend the night on a farm in your RV check out Harvest Hosts. Harvest Hosts is a membership network of farmers who will let you park your RV on their property for the night. Again it’s a good way to meet and support the local people and have an interesting experience.
Finding local farmers markets and farms couldn’t be easier. Often times a quick Google search will show you the times and days. Websites like Local Harvest and Eat Wild make finding a local market or farm simple. Coffee shops often have postings on their bulletin boards or ask the locals if there any markets nearby. Once in a while you’ll just stumble upon a great market or farm. On our way home from North Cascades National Park we passed Cascadian Farms organic farm and stopped to pick berries until dark.
Most RVs are set up to make cooking a breeze and meals can be as elaborate or as simple as you want them to be. Freshly caught fish paired with a fresh salad and grilled veggies from the local farmers market makes for an amazingly simple and delicious meal. Many RVs now come with outdoor kitchens or grills allowing you to enjoy the outdoors while preparing a meal and cooking under a canopy of trees certainly makes mealtime special. Perhaps you don’t want to spend time cooking. We often use our crockpot to ensure there will be a healthy warm meal waiting for us back at the RV after a day of exploring and there is little cleanup required!
Want to add visiting some local markets or farms to your next adventure? Here are a few helpful resources to help you find your way:
- Local Harvest – Nationwide directory of farmers markets, small farms, and local food sources arranged by state.
- Eat Wild – Directory that lists over 1300 farms in the US and Canada.
- Pick Your Own – Website with pick your own farms listed by state.
- Fresh Food Finder – An app that allows you to search for nearby locations.
- Harvest Hosts – A network of farms and wineries that allow member RVers to stay overnight for free.
Do you ever visit local farmers markets or farms on RV vacations? What’s your favorite meal to cook in the RV?