I love going to farmers markets! In fact, I have an app on my phone called ‘Farmstand’ that I can just open up and it will show me all the farmers markets around me, no matter where in the world I am.
It saved me on our last camping trip this summer when I needed some fresh produce!
Or you can also visit http://www.localharvest.org to find one near you or even join a CSA.
With my foldable, two-wheeled grocery cart in tow (or my “old lady cart,” as my husband likes to call it) and a few totes in hand, I am like a kid in a candy store when I am at these things.
Farmers markets are so much fun, especially for the kids, and it is a great way to get involved and meet people in your community. The fruits and vegetables pale in comparison to store bought produce – it tastes way better, it is economical, sustainable, environmentally friendly and I get to support my local farmer.
Here are some of the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables that are organic, seasonal and grown locally:
1) They are picked at the peak of freshness and offer higher nutritional content than fruits and vegetables that are not in season.
Their full, whole flavor is intact, unlike foods that have to be transported – they must be harvested early and refrigerated so they do not rot on their journey. They don’t ripen as they would in their natural environment and, as a result, they do not develop their full flavor.
2) It reduces the number of miles your food has to travel before it reaches your plate. This helps cut back on the amount of fuel used, which reduces pollution. We protect our water, our air and our land.
Transporting fruits and veggies sometimes requires irradiation (zapping the produce with a burst of radiation to kill germs) and preservatives (such as wax) to protect the food.
3) Organic farmers use sustainable methods of growing that provide us with healthier food and do not expose us to toxic chemicals and GMOs (genetically modified organism). Their farming practices protect our health, our planet and our farmer’s health.
Fact: Did you know that the conventional farmer’s average life span is 49? And their children suffer from health problems or deformities from being exposed by the pesticides and the herbicides used on the farm.
4) They are priced much more economically, which saves you money and helps to grow your local economy!
Tremendous time, money and energy is spent to transport food all over the country and the world so that we have access to things like watermelon or zucchini or tomatoes all year round in our grocery stores. And if you buy organic, those bananas from Chile are not inspected (unless something is really off!) when they enter the country to make sure they meet organic standards.
5) Variety. We get to try something new every few months! Eating with the seasons provides our body with a myriad of important vitamins, minerals, enzymes and antioxidants. So, be a little adventurous and next time you go to the grocery store or farmers market, throw a fruit or vegetable you’ve never had before in your cart! You may discover something you really like!
We need to honor the natural ebb and flow of nature. A change in the season means changes in what can be grown. It also means changes in what our body needs to thrive in that particular environment.
So check out your local farmers market! By eating seasonally, organic and locally, you will be rewarded with high quality produce that is packed with nutrition and at a lower cost. Your body and your taste buds will definitely thank you for it!
Know your food. Know your farmer. Eat well. Be well. Vote with your fork!