Farmers’ Markets are increasing access to fresh and nutritious food. Unfortunately, nutritious food is not always available or affordable for low-income families. Fresh fruits and vegetables should not be a luxury that many are unable to indulge. Farmers’ Markets offer competitive process and some are even starting special programs for low-income families. Shopping local for your produce is wholesome in many ways.
These outdoor markets put delicious fruits and vegetables front and center. Instead of being tempted by junk food aisles, farmers’ markets celebrate real food. You learn what produce is in season during different parts of the year in your region. You have the ability to speak with the individuals who labored over growing the scrumptious foods that will appear on your plate throughout the week.
“Visiting a farmers’ market is a
great way to stay in touch with where
your food comes from and a fun way
to stay healthy.”
Visiting a farmers’ market is a great way to stay in touch with where your food comes from. Smaller farms have a vested interest in practicing sustainable agriculture. They need their land to continue producing for many years to come. Small farms are naturally more efficient and sustainable. The individuals you are interacting with at the market are the people that actually grew your food. They are available to answer your questions about farming and food in general.
Eating according to the season means you get the freshest food during peak times of the year. You may not be able to eat strawberries year-round but that makes springtime all the more enjoyable for the promise of juicy berries. The wholesome outdoor environment makes going grocery shopping an enjoyable event.
“Eating according to the season
means you get the freshest food
during peak times
of the year.”
- Plan – Planning ahead is not always easy when you aren’t sure what will be available from week to week. After shopping at a farmers’ market becomes a habit, you will become more familiar with the different seasons and be able to predict what produce will be available. As you are shopping, think about meals you will prepare that week. This will help you select complementary foods and not over buy. Have a plan for what you will use your purchases for.
- Ask questions – One of the benefits of purchasing your food from a local farmers’ market is that you can ask questions. Be reasonable. It is not fair to expect a farmer to have harvested produce the day before coming to market, but you can guarantee it is much fresher than anything you purchase at a supermarket. Ask for advice on how to prepare more exotic produce. Don’t ask for discounts as the market is closing. These farmers worked hard to grow this food and deserve a fair price regardless of the time of day. It is okay to ask for half a basket or for three peaches instead of six. This also helps you portion for a meal better. Farmers love to talk, so don’t be afraid to strike up a congenial conversation.
- Budgeting – Most markets only deal in cash. This actually makes budgeting easier. Only bring the amount of money you have available to spend on groceries. This way you do not end up overspending. Take a lap around the area to see what vendors are selling that week. Formulate a meal plan in your head. Then, go around collecting the ingredients necessary. Remember that it is okay to ask to purchase a smaller portion than is being presented.
- Supplementing – Sometimes you won’t be able to buy everything you need for the week at the farmers’ market. Not all markets include meat and dairy farmers. This is a great opportunity to add more vegetables and fruits to your plate. Meat is expensive and many vegetables contain enough protein to meet your daily requirements. You can always stop at a grocery store to pick up any essentials not available like pasta, cheese or milk. Another way to introduce protein into your diet is to add some whey protein to a delicious green smoothie made from ingredients from the market.
Visiting a farmers’ market for your weekly food stables is a fun way to stay healthy. Most markets have strict standards for vendors. This means you get the freshest produce at competitive costs. Open markets make shopping a pleasure. You get the satisfaction of knowing where your food comes from and thanking the farmer who provided this sustenance. Many small farmers practice sustainable farming out of necessity if nothing else. Research local farmers’ markets in your area and get to shopping.
Do you shop at the local farmer’s market in your community?
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