I love, love, love Farmer’s Markets. And I’m hoping this post will inspire you to love them too.
There are so many reasons why they are so much better than grocery stores (yes, even whole foods) and I’m going to go through some of the important reasons in this post.
I’m a big advocate for farmer’s markets. And for good reason. This post is going to outline all the benefits of choosing farmer’s markets over traditional grocery stores. Thankfully, there are more and more farmers markets cropping up all of the time as people became more aware of their health and well-being. You can use this link to search for local markets, or of course you can just google search where you live with farm stands to find one close by.
The following reasons are just a few of why I adore going to local farm stands:
1) Supporting the environment
Locally produced products travel 27 times less distance than conventionally produced produce (Source).
This means whenever you choose local produce, you are choosing food that has not been boxed up, packaged, shipped, and transported by means of car, plane, boat or whatever to get to your plate. You are purchasing the item from the closest source possible, which supports sustainability of our environment because it helps to reduce toxic carbon emissions from travel, and it also reduces the amount of plastic and boxes required to ship food around the world.
2) Better taste
Have you ever tried organic, farmers market strawberries and compared it to the taste of the typical Driscoll strawberries you see in the grocery store that have been sitting in a plastic container? Tell me what tastes better. The difference is unbelievably distinct. Fresh produce from the farmers market almost always tastes better than grocery store produce. This is because the produce is grown in the most natural way possible; how it was meant to be grown! Our food is not meant to be sprayed with a ton of chemicals, pesticides and fertilizer. These items help with growth time and crop yield, but they throw the taste off and reduce the amount of nutrients our bodies can absorb.
3) Less chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers, additives
Going along with the above point, farmers market produce is much more natural than conventional. Most of the time there are virtually zero chemicals used to grow the crops. This in turn is much better for our health. Pesticides and various chemicals used in crop production are neurotoxins. They can cause birth defects, and can impact memory (Source). Really scary stuff. This is why it is so, so vital to try and get our produce as close to the source as possible.
What about buying organic?
Buying organic produce over non-organic produce will always help because organic farming avoids or largely excludes synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and growth regulators. Organic farming relies on crop rotation, animal manures and organic wastes to supply plant nutrients, control pest and maintain soil health. I almost always buy my animal products organic because this means the animal had a healthier diet and was not living in a toxic environment. In terms of fruits and vegetables, there are some items that are more important to buy organic than others. These are referred to the “Dirty Dozen.” The “Clean 15” is a list of fruits and vegetables that have a more tough exterior, so they are less exposed to harmful pesticides. If you are trying to save some money (organic produce is much more expensive) you can buy conventional items from the Clean 15 list.
Other tips to reduce pesticide load
There are some other practical tips to help reduce the amount of pesticides you consume. One is to wash fruits before consuming them, which is pretty commonly known. Trader Joes makes an awesome fruit and vegetable wash that is non toxic. Another tip is to buy food seasonally. For example, seasonal foods for the fall are apples, beets, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, eggplant, grapes, nectarines, peaches, plums, summer squash, zucchini and tomatoes. This differs from food in season in June for example, which is cherries, collard greens, kale, and raspberries. Buying food in season in smart because if it’s during off season, the item you are purchasing has likely been artificially ripened which means it won’t taste as good and won’t give you the nutrient density you’re looking for.