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Shop at a Farmer's Market

Why Shopping at Your Local Farmer’s Market is a Great Idea

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If you have a local farmer’s market within easy reach, you are a very fortunate person. Big or small, the vendors bring fruits and vegetables at the very peak of their growing season.  This means that the produce you’re buying there is at its freshest, is holding onto the most nutrients and tastes the best. When your produce is sold to you only a few hours after it’s picked, you’ll know your food was harvested when it was at its best, not before it was ripe so that it would survive days on ships or trucks while they travel to you from thousands of miles away.

Your Local Farmer’s Market is a Wonderful Place to Learn

Grab your reusable shopping bag and head out to your local farmer’s market.  Simply by paying attention to what is being sold – before speaking a word to a single person – you’ll start to understand which foods are in season in your area and when.

What’s in Season?

We’ve become accustomed to having all foods available to us at all times in the grocery store, but that hardly means that they’re at their freshest when we purchase them.  After all the shipping, sorting and unpacking, some produce takes weeks to get from its farm to your grocery store.

Your local farmer’s market will usually sell food that was picked within hours of being displayed on the vendor table. Understanding the growing rhythms of your area. This can not only bring you closer to your food but also help you to know what has traveled the least when you are shopping at your supermarket.

What “Real” Produce Looks Like

Farmers markets sell fruits and veggies as they’ve been grown. You’ll get all the quality of taste and nutrition, without the additional sorting to pick out the “uglies”.  Yes, most of the food you’ll get at the farmer’s market will look like what you see at the grocery store.

That said, you’ll also find that when a carrot has split in two and looks like it has grown legs, the farmer will still sell it to you. The food is exactly as it’s grown, still has all the same delicious benefits, but results in far less waste than the ultra-selective grocery stores that want all produce to look identical.

At the same time, you’ll also see carrots, kohlrabi, radishes and other foods with their leaves still on! Many grocery chains sell produce with the greens cut off because the greens take up more space and will often be wilted by the time they hit the shelf. The freshness of the produce at your local market means those greens are bright and fresh…and perfectly edible! You get more food for your purchase!

How to Use New Ingredients

Ever wonder how to eat a carnival squash? What to do with those radish greens? What is a garlic scape? How is rhubarb or are gooseberries prepared? Your best source of information is the person who grows them! You’ll discover wonderful new ingredients packed with flavor and nutrition and will know just how to serve them to bring out their very best.

Shopping at the Farmer’s Market Means Supporting the Local Economy

Don’t forget that shopping at the farmer’s market is the ultimate in local economic support. These are local businesspeople who also do a lot of local shopping to source what they need. Every dollar you spend on the fruits and veggies from local growers means that your community remains a little bit more resilient.

Even better? Bring the kids! These are extremely kid-friendly places.  They let children learn about all the things you’ve discovered while you’re there, while keeping up their own interest in local growing and in great nutrition. If you let your little ones select something new to try, you’ll promote a solid interest in nutrition from an early age.