Fresher, Healthier and Better for the Environment: Shopping at Farmer’s Markets
One of my favorite things to do on a summer weekend morning is take the kids to a farmer’s market.
I’m a city girl through and through, and had been doing most all of my shopping at SuperTarget and the like. The first time I tried a strawberry from a farmer’s market – Oh My Gosh! The difference between a strawberry picked and packed in a factory and trucked across the country, and a freshly picked strawberry is incredible.
Now I’m so excited for the local growing season to start and to be able to buy produce from the local farmer’s market. Prices for produce are comparable to grocery stores, with whatever is at the peak of the season being the best value.
Fresh produce is better for you too. The fresher it is, the most vitamins and nutrients it retains. If your child will only eat one bite of broccoli, they will get more nutrients if it’s a fresh floret. And they might be a little more enthusiastic about eating it, if they have fun picking it out at the farmer’s market.
Another benefit is less chemicals in your food. Family farms generally use less agricultural chemicals like insecticides and pesticides than large growers. Many farmers selling their produce at farmer’s markets are not organically certified, but are using organic methods. Farms have to use organic methods for several years before the food they grow can be certified organic produce, so it’s a great place to get nearly-organic produce for less-than-organic prices.
Supporting local farmers is also generally considered to be better for your local economy than shopping at the corporately owned supermarket. I’d rather spend my dollars and have them go to a family farm, instead of executives and shareholders.
My local market has a coffee stand, local musicians playing, and many of the vendors give out samples of produce, and cute little kids get the most! All in all, it’s a fun morning out for all of us.
So are you planning to go to the farmer’s market this weekend? Here’s a challenge: get any of those fresh strawberries home. I bet they’ll all be eaten in the car before you know it.