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The Hay Say’s Food Philosophy

In today’s world you can get just about any type of food at your local Giant or Safeway. You can chose from over 40 types of cereals, a plethora of hotdog varieties, and more types of yellow “cheese products” than I have shoes. And when it comes to vegetables, most people have no idea what is in season. The truth is, why should they when you can get tomatoes in January, strawberries in the fall, and asparagus in November?

All that may sound like the perfect American dream! I mean, what if I don’t want my Cheerios regular, but with honey, wheat, honey wheat, or lite honey wheat multi-grain instead? And what if I couldn’t make my strawberry angle food cake for Christmas? That sure would be a shame.

While variety is an offspring of desire, we must address the impact of such a food culture.

Recently I’ve decided to address that impact, by changing my food habits. The solution in my eyes is simple. Go Organic. Go local. Go plant based.

The Hay Say and company now buy roughly 70% of our produce locally. Additionally nearly all our cheese comes from local sources. Bread, pasta, and milk also often come straight from the local Shenandoah farm. When not drinking a homebrew, local beer is now a first option. Most importantly meat has been cut out and and replaced with whole, real, plant based foods.

Getting a large chunk of my food from within 200 miles of the house guarantees freshness, allows me to support sustainable, healthy practicing farmers, and means that what is on my plate wasn’t picked unripe, didn’t travel for 1000s of miles just to ripen on my grocer’s shelf.

What I’ve discovered is a new connection to what I eat. It is true that ‘we are what we eat,’ and frankly, I want to know what I am.

Reasons to Go Local:

It tastes better! Local food is much fresher, in season, and often times organic and not mass produced. All of this will contribute to the delicious taste of fresh local food.

It is better for the environment. When food has to travel 1000s of miles to reach your plate, it burns more energy and oil than needed. Eating local food can cut those 1000s of miles to less than 100. Plus local food is often organic and more natural, dumped little to no unnatural chemicals into the Earth.

Supports local economy. When you buy from a local farm, your are supporting local famers, workers, their distributors, and suppliers. Your money will go directly back into your community.

Preserves local farmland. Keeping farms open in your local community keeps the land from being developed and saves green spaces.

It will build your food community. When you buy from a farmers market or CSA, you are more connected with the people growing your food. You can see what care the farmers put into the crops, and understand what makes it different.

Eliminates the middleman. When you buy directly from the farmer, you cut out the cost of the middle man, allowing the crop to be more fruitful for the grower.

Not only is it environmentally sustainable, but is more sustainable for our communities. As we push for an energy independent society, we must remember that our dependency on foreign food makes us just as vulnerable.

Eating local reminds us what food is really all about, reconnecting us with what our current food culture has taken away.

Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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