By: Regan Jones, RD

If you have access to a local blueberry farm, by all means — please go with your family and friends, eat a few ripe ones straight from the bush, soak in the sunshine, pick a bucket full and enjoy them for as long as they last. Maybe, if you’re feeling especially motivated you’ll even make a batch of one of these

But if you don’t make it to a local u-pick today, let me assure you it’s “ok” to pick up a package of blueberries for these recipes at your local supermarket. There’s no need to obsess over the fact that you may be getting berries that weren’t picked by your next-door neighbor. In fact, can we all agree to quit putting “locally-grown” on a pedestal that perhaps it doesn’t deserve?

Don’t get me wrong. I love local farmers, no matter where they call home. I certainly hope from the standpoint of supporting your local economy that you know where your farmers market is and you frequent those vendors when possible. But there seems to be this growing sentiment that to eat well, you can only eat what’s been grown on a local farm. And that’s simply not the case.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I visited the last of the 50 United States earlier this summer. What I can tell you after traveling literally all across the U.S., top to bottom, east to west, is that our land and climates are as diverse as we are. This notion that we should only be “eating” locally means that growing up, I would never have had pound cake with the fresh blueberries picked at my grandparents in the summer because wheat doesn’t grow well down south. 

Different parts of the country – based on soil, weather and other factors – accommodate different types of farming better than others. And what I’ve learned working with the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance is America needs farms of all shapes, sizes and terrains to thrive. So when buying produce — whether it’s labeled as local or not— you’re helping farmers thrive, even if they are a few states away. (And of course, eating more produce is ALWAYS a good idea for your health!)

I, for one, am extremely grateful that once July is over and berry season has ended down south, there’s likely a farmer somewhere else in America that’s able to keep me stocked in berries a bit longer. 

To read the full blog, get a recipe for Greek Yogurt Pound Cake with Blueberry-Chia Sauce, and more from Regan visit http://healthyaperture.com/blog/post/greek-yogurt-poundcake-with-blueberry-sauce.

Regan Jones is part of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance's Digital Voices Council. To learn more about the program and bloggers who participate, click here.