We have officially entered into the Farmer’s Market season and I can almost taste the summer tomatoes. Farmers everywhere are planting, watering, weeding and harvesting their crops. I am an avid supporter of Farmer’s Markets and think that everyone should shop at one if available. And here’s why:
Top 10 Reasons to Visit A Farmer’s Market
Meet Your Farmer – This is one of my favorite reasons to shop at a Farmers Market. You get to see the person who has grown, raised or made your food. You begin to build relationships with the people that dedicate their lives to feeding you. You have the opportunity to ask them exactly how your food was grown before you eat it. And I’m pretty sure you can’t get that at a super market.
Awaken Your Taste Buds – Local food simply tastes better. When everything is ripened on the vine, the flavor profiles of fresh local strawberries, for example, are out of this world. Do yourself a favor and taste test a store bought strawberry next to a locally grown strawberry and I won’t have to convince you any further.
Avoid GMO’s – I love the opportunity to avoid those nasty GMO’s by shopping at the Farmer’s Market. Make sure to ask your Farmer what their growing practices are, before assuming they are GMO free. Many people will have those types of details labeled on their tables. But just in case, ask.
Start Talking – According to the Worldwatch Institute, people at Farmer’s Markets engage in ten times more conversation than they do at supermarkets. You get to talk with your farmers, your friends and other random shoppers. It’s a wonderful social experience.
Participate in Community – Each week you are engaging in community with other people who value supporting their local economy. It’s a time to see your friends, family and neighbors. It’s an easy way to connect with like-minded people and celebrate local food and simply being outside.
Teach Your Kids Where Their Food Comes From – What a beautiful opportunity to demonstrate to your kids where their food comes from. When you only buy super market food, it is hard to have an appreciation for that prepackaged meat, processed cereal and week(s) old vegetables. Children get to see, smell, taste real food and experience the buying process from the actual farmer.
Boost Your Nutrition – Farmer’s Market produce is harvested the morning of, or the day before the actual Market. So you are getting the freshest and most nutrient dense food available to the public. It hasn’t had time to travel 100’s or 1000’s of miles, sit on a shelf for multiple days or weeks and loose its nutrient content. If you want to boost up those vitamins and minerals, buy local.
Support Your Local Economy and Area Businesses – By buying at a Farmer’s Market, you are putting every dollar back into your local economy to help support small local farms and local businesses. Plus, according to Sandor Katz, in The Locavore’s Handbook, neighborhood businesses near Farmer’s Markets experience a significant increase in foot traffic on market days. It’s a win-win.
Experience the Seasons – I love the opportunity to participate in seasonal eating. Each season you get to try eating only those things that grow during the season. There is a reason root vegetables grow in the winter and watermelon grows in the summer. Roots vegetables ground you and warm you up, whereas watermelon helps keep you light and cool you down. This way of eating connects you to the natural cycles of nature and reminds us of the brilliance of the earth.
You Become a Conscious Consumer – As Michael Pollan likes to say “Everytime you pass an item across the scanner, you are voting with your dollar. You have the chance to vote three times a day.” Every time you shop at a Farmer’s Market you are choosing to be a conscious consumer. You are choosing to vote where you want your food to come from, the value of health and nutrition and the importance of community.
I want to leave you with a few quotes:
The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000. But the image that’s used to sell the food, it is stil the imagery of agrarian America. You go into the supermarket and you see pictures of farmers, the picket fence, the silo, the ’30s farmhouse and the green grass. It’s the spinning of this pastoral fantasy. The modern American supermarket has on average 47,000 products. There are no seasons in the American supermarket. Now there are tomatoes all year round,grown halfway around the world, picked when it was green, and ripened with ethylene gas. Although it looks like a tomato, it’s kind of a notional tomato. I mean, it’s the idea of a tomato. In themeat aisle, there are no bones anymore. -Michael Pollan
There is this deliberate veil, this curtain, that’s dropped between us and where our food is coming from. The industry doesn’t want you to know the truth about what you’re eating, because if you knew, you might not want to eat it. -Eric Schlosser
If you follow the food chain back from those shrink-wrapped packages of meat, you find a very different reality. The reality is a factory. It’s not a farm. It’s a factory. That meat is being processed by huge multinational corporations that have very little to do with ranches and farmers. – Michael Pollan
You can see why those that begin to buy local, have a very hard time going back to shopping at the Store. The taste, quality, and experience cannot be matched unless you grew your own food. I encourage you to buy local whenever possible and push yourself to try it if you haven’t already.
Why Do You Shop at A Farmers Market?