What Is Fresh?

Local Banquet Cover Fall_15

I have an article “What Is Fresh?” in this fall’s issue of Vermont’s Local BanquetIt’s a short overview of different ways to think about the definition of “fresh” – and particularly interesting to me because “fresh” is so often used as the primary descriptor for local food, as in the sentence “local food tastes better because it is fresh.”

This claim that local food tastes better because it is fresh is so common as to be considered self evident by this point. It shows up in advertisements, mission statements for local food organizations and farmers’ markets, in state and federal grantmaking language (so it’s practically a law), and many a press release. Back when I was a grad student and researching things like what people really meant when they said local food tasted better, it was hard to find studies that included “local” without “fresh” attached. Yet, I live in Vermont. Fresh is an occasional quality. We’re all about the aged cheeses and year-round access to maple syrup. Hence this article:

What Is Fresh?

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