Spring is officially here and with that being said, so are nature’s most delicious and nutritious crops! Say goodbye to winter eating patterns and hello to light snacking and in-season fruits and vegetables! The place to purchase these foods? Farmers markets. Here are five reasons to start shopping at your local farmers market:
Produce, such as fruits and vegetables sold in a farmers market are those in-season, which allows them to be the freshest and most flavorful. These crops have time to fully ripen and are brought directly to you, the consumer to be sold. They are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients. Long distance shipping and days sitting in storage are eliminated by choosing a farmers market. The longer amount of time that passes from the initial point of harvest, the higher the loss in nutritional value. At farmers markets, the produce goes straight from the farm to the market to your kitchen.
Experiment with foods of the season
Each season, different crops are available to purchase. At farmers markets, you may find a fruit or vegetable you never heard of or tasted before. This allows you to experiment with foods, new recipes and expand your taste preferences. Talk to the farmer and ask about the crop and how it should be cooked. They have great suggestions on how to prepare their product. It is the perfect time to make a change and try something new!
Connect to the community
Attending a farmers market on a warm sunny day is definitely more enjoyable than strolling through a grocery store, bumping into people with your wheeling cart and waiting on line. They are typically outdoors and allow for open communication with the farmer and other attendees in the community. On a nice day, you could meet up with a friend, take your family, have lunch, or venture out on your own! It is a great place to take your children and allow them to get involved and help you pick out produce. If they are part of the process they are most likely willing to try the food. This is a wonderful way to get the entire family to eat healthier.
Supporting local farmers allows for food items that you could trust. Products sold in farmers markets are minimally processed. These farmers are determined to make sure they use the most sustainable techniques as possible. Animal products such as dairy and eggs are produced from animals that were raised without antibiotics or hormones and had the opportunity to graze on grass and consume natural diets. These animals avoid the unethical lifestyles that some big corporations have for theirs. By talking to the farmer you have the ability to know where your food comes from and a feeling of trust.
Support family farmers
In a country where big business dominates, especially the food industry, it is important to help those small family farmers keep up in today’s economy. Purchasing produce and other food items they have to offer directly from the farmer helps keep them in business and compete with other companies. These farmers take pride in their produce and overall, it helps the community.
Check your local listing in your community to find out where the closest farmers market takes place!