9 Reasons I Shop at the Farmer’s Market!

Farmers Market
Photo taken by Frank Kehren

August 4-10 is National Farmer’s Market Week.

Farmer’s markets are a great way to shop for locally grown, farm-fresh produce, and develop personal relationships with local farmers.

1). Nutrient-Rich Variety

There is an amazing assortment of nutrient-packed fruits and vegetables at your local farmer’s market.  Each farmer may have favorite varieties and different methods for growing produce.  Local produce is fresh since it does not need to travel far to be sold.  Fresh produce will provide the most vitamins and minerals.

2). Health Benefits

Choose a rainbow of colorful fruits and vegetables.  The colors reflect the different vitamin, mineral and phytochemical content of each fruit or vegetable.  Phytochemicals have strong health benefits, are potent anti-cancer agents and promote healthy aging.  The health benefits of eating fruits and vegetables include:

    • Lowers your risk of certain cancers
    • Decreases your risk of heart disease
    • Reduces your risk of stroke
    • Reduces high blood pressure
    • Helps you lose and manage your weight

3). Quality

The produce at farmer’s markets is top quality because farmers allow the produce to ripen in the field and they harvest the produce when it is at its peak of ripeness and flavor.  Fresh produce is crisp, has good texture and tastes the best.

4). Cost Effective

Produce bought in season is not only more flavorful, but it also costs less.  Local produce does not need to be shipped in from other regions, saving transportation costs and making it the more economical choice.

5). Information

Get information directly from the farmers on how the crops are grown as well as ideas on how to store, wash, prepare and cook with different fresh ingredients.  Pretty much anything you want to know about their produce can be answered on the spot before you purchase!  For more information on ways to ensure that farm-fresh food is safe, check out my past blog post on food safety at the farmer’s market.

Photo taken by Natalie Maynor
Photo taken by Natalie Maynor

6). Ambience

Experience the different aromas, tastes, colors and textures of the season.  The farmer’s market is a great way to satisfy all of your senses.

7). Community

Farmer’s markets are a community gathering place.  Shopping at your local farmer’s market connects you to your food and to your community in a way that no other activity can.

8). Entertainment

Farmer’s markets can be fun, wholesome entertainment for the entire family.  It is a great opportunity for kids to learn about farming, produce and nutrition, and to help them be more interested in the food they eat.  It is also a great way to meet new people, talk with the farmers, and perhaps listen to local musicians.  Depending on the size of your local farmer’s market, you may even see farm animals or experience a local chef conducting a cooking demonstration.

9). Support local farmers

Purchasing from farmer’s markets helps keep farmers in business and contributes to the local economy.  Of each dollar spent at the grocery store, 91 cents goes to suppliers, processors, marketers and middlemen, and only 9 cents goes to the farmer.  At farmer’s markets, farmers can reduce distribution, packaging and advertising costs to offer fresher, more affordable food.  Farmers who sell at local farmer’s markets keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar.

So What’s the Bottom Line?

Shopping at the farmer’s markets and buying locally is good for your health, good for the community, good for farmers, and good for your pocketbook!  It is a win for all!

For a list of farmer’s markets near you, visit Local Harvest.

Photo taken by Paul Collins
Photo taken by Paul Collins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Gina
Gina Consalvo-Hassick, MA, RD, LDN, CDE, NCC is a registered dietitian and is actively involved in various food and nutrition communities. She has counseled and assessed a wide range of patients and has experience in outpatient, inpatient, and consulting. Areas of specialization include weight management, eating disorders, and wellness nutrition.
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Gina Hassick,
MA, RD, LDN, CDE, NCC

(908) 827-1482
gina@eatwellwithgina.com

Office Location:
133 N. 4th Street
Easton, PA 18042