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If you are what you eat, why not eat local?

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(Family Features) - The weather, local customs and area foods are part of everyday life. Particularly in New England, there is a strong bond between where one lives and what one eats. For example, 60,000 acres in Maine are devoted to growing wild blueberries, producing the largest amount of wild blueberries in the world, according to the University of Maine Wild Blueberry Cooperative Extension.

Additionally, the Cape Cod Cranberry Growers Association cites Massachusetts as the number one cranberry producer in the country. With statistics like these, it is no surprise that cranberries are a staple ingredient in New England meals and that a Google search for "Maine pick your own blueberries" returns more than 60,000 results.

New England residents who already enjoy local flavors are in luck, as the trend of going local has consumers celebrating their roots by eating local foods and engaging in regionally-based activities. For years, New Englanders have participated in activities rich in history and heritage, most likely without recognizing the connection, such as:

  • Fairs and festivals have been a staple of New England heritage for hundreds of years, with some dating back to the 1800s. Fairs such as The Big E draw thousands of local residents for agriculture competitions, cook-offs, petting zoos and rides.
  • Maple farms and sugar houses across Vermont offer tastings and tours during the sugaring season, and are a fun and educational Saturday family outing. Many of the sugarhouses include a home-run store where visitors may purchase fresh syrup.
  • With the many dairy and fruit farms blanketing New England, residents have a variety of fresh produce at their fingertips, such as family-run cheese creameries and pick-your-own fruit farms.

Many companies, understanding consumer interest in celebrating local connections, continue to offer passed-down recipes and regionally-focused flavor names to supply that taste of home. Using a family recipe in 1929, Rose Colombosian first started making Colombo® yogurt in her Andover, Massachusetts kitchen. At the time, yogurt was not as popular as it is today. However, Rose's delicious and healthy recipe attracted more and more of her Andover neighbors and became a local favorite.

No matter what your nostalgic craving may be, you shouldn't have any problem finding a local source to satisfy your taste buds.

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