EDWARDS - The importance of eating locally has been discussed by well known authors, politicians, next-door neighbors and doctors alike. But high in the Rockies it is not always easy. Ripe, a produce stand located in Edwards, seeks to provide the Vail Valley with locally produced good food from small farms within a few hour's drive who are using conscious methods for production.
"Local" has become the buzzword around town when it comes to grocery shopping, but what does buying local actually mean? And why should we focus on it?
An article by the Sierra Club states that every year Americans consume on average 400 gallons of oil per citizen - about 17 percent of our nation's energy use - by eating foods grown using with synthetic fertilizers, processed far from the farm and shipped across the nation, and sometimes the world, to finally find itself on the dinner table with little nutritional value or taste left to show for itself.
With fresh produce at the forefront, Ripe makes shopping and eating with a conscience easier by providing access to locally produced good food - "local" being defined by products that can reach the stand between breakfast and lunch. The farms Ripe works with are small. Farmers are able to make a living and Ripe takes care of the marketing, logistics and customer relations that most small farms do not have time for. Everything is certified organic, certified natural, or consciously grown. According to The Rodale Institute, organic farms use on average 37 percent less energy than a non-organic farm, proving that focusing on thoughtful growing mechanisms can really make a difference.
If it is not enough that fresh produce simply tastes better, is more nutritionally sound, and fuels the immediate economy, chew on this: According to an excerpt from Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," "If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week. That's not gallons, but barrels." That is definitely something worth shopping for.
Ripe will be open Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., hopefully through October. It can be found in the North Star Center in Edwards, just off the second roundabout from I-70. The stand is located to the right of the Subway, where the old Colorado Capital Bank used to be.