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Buying local produce is good for you and for the economy

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Photo by Kami Collins Bob Morris of Red Mountain Ranches pours samples of his frozen apple cider, available at the farm market in Cedaredge. The sweet, refreshing concoction is simple, much like life on a farm: it's only apple juice, made from apples grow

As Colorado's produce season arrives, the Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) is asking consumers to buy local.

"Colorado's high day time temperatures countered by cool nights, give our fruit a sweeter, more intense flavor," said Bruce Talbott, Talbott's Gold, Palisade, Colo., a fifth-generation Colorado fruit farmer. He also notes that the very cold winters kill many of the pests with which other fruit-producing areas must contend.

Here are some reasons to look for local produce when you shop:

Taste -- In addition to being a great place to grow fruits and vegetables, local produce spends less time from field to market. Fresh produce always tastes better.

Keep dollars in Colorado -- When you buy local, your food dollars stay local, enriching your own community. Buying local also helps sustain Colorado's farms and rural communities. In addition, when farms are profitable, they are able to provide the open space and wildlife habitat Colorado is known for.

Connect with farmers -- Buying local, especially when you can buy directly from the farmer, lets you connect with the farmers who raise the food you put on your table. Hear their stories and what is important to them. It makes meals an experience, rather than just food.

Purchase options -- In addition to buying directly through farmers' markets, CSAs and produce stands, many retailers also stock seasonal Colorado produce.

To help Colorado consumers understand the Colorado produce season, CFVGA has published a Colorado Produce Calendar, available to the public at https://colora

doproduce.org/nutrition-

health-2/. This link also enables viewers to click on a produce item and go to detailed nutrition, purchasing, storage and preparation information for each produce item. In addition, CFVGA's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/CFVGA/ features seasonal recipes.

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