In my opinion, the primary theme of the recent Taste Trekkers conference was the importance of eating local. Why eat local? Well, don’t you want to know where you food comes from? Consider that hilarious Portlandia episode with Colin the Chicken. Although this sketch takes it to extremes, local establishments buying from local producers really can provide tons of information about the food that you are putting into your body. Transparency and the ability to actually know what you’re eating is a good thing, people!
Also, I’ve found that the better an animal is treated, the better it tastes. Local, small batch organizations let you see animals’ living conditions and typically focus on quality over quantity, which makes for a better consumer experience. Furthermore, by buying local you support local economies and get to know a region through the food they are producing. You literally get to taste the culture and values of the place you’re visiting. This one of the ultimate tourist experiences – a deeper, richer understanding of communities through food.
Do I always eat local at home or on travel? No. I’m not a saint. I love my 5 Guys and Chipotle as much as the next girl. I do endeavor to find restaurants serving local food and buy from farmer’s markets though. In the end, your efforts can provide a unique food experience and, most importantly, taste pretty freakin’ good.