It’s incredible the fruits and vegetables you’ll find in the market today. So many items are imported from near and far – apples, bananas, avocado, garlic – but thankfully there are plenty of Egyptian grown goods available year round. And while having imported apples at home is fine, the rest of your fridge should be filled with as much local produce as possible. Here’s why:

Freshness

Locally-grown produce is harvested within 24 hours of purchase. It reaches the market in it’s most freshest state and hasn’t been sitting in a truck, traveling from lands far, faraway to get to it’s final destination – your plate.

Nutritional Value

Picking crops at their peak ripeness not only ensures freshness but nutritional value too. Once produce is harvested, it’s nutritional value – no matter how fresh it is – begins to decrease especially in vitamins A, C and E. Exposure to artificial light, and temperature and air change also effect how healthy a fruit or vegetable really is.

Taste

Locally-grown foods are seasonal. Although imported bananas taste good enough, locally grown bananas have their season here, at home in Egypt and burst with a natural sweetness. That’s because the imported bananas were most probably picked too early or frozen upon harvest so that they could ripen unnaturally while traveling thousands of kilometers from their home.

Economy

Spending money on locally grown produce means you’re supporting a local producer, which means you’re supporting our local community.

Environment

Food grown close to home travels much less to reach your home. The carbon footprint of a fruit or vegetable grown in Egypt is a whole lot smaller than that of fruit or vegetable traveling across seas, by boat or plane and truck too, to arrive at our supermarkets. We’re lucky to live in a country with a strong farming culture and so much local produce to choose from. So eating local is pretty easy. However, exercise caution when purchasing goods from local vendors as their farming practices aren’t always 100% safe. But a few farms like Bustan Aquaponics, Egyptian Hydrofarms, Makar, Sara’s Organic Food, and Tabi3y are taking sustainable farming one step further, bringing their farm fresh and clean, safe produce to city.

From free range chicken eggs and all sorts of kale, to purple broccoli and hand-picked olive oil, local produce is going beyond the fruit and vegetable stands and carts we’reused to. Experimenting with unique seeds and sustainable farming methods, Egypt’s agriculture scene is getting more and more green making it easy for us to make smart food choices. Look out for produce from these farms at Gourmet, Ma7ali, Seoudi and Sunny markets as well as local farmer’s markets hosted by Arkan Plaza, Palm Hills Developments, Nun Center and Zamalek Market. Or better yet, take a short trip outside of the city, just some kilometers away, pay a visit to any one of these farms and pick your produce yourself. That’s about as fresh as it gets.