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Every Saturday morning, I get excited to head to the farmer’s market with my dog and explore. I browse all the local, fresh produce, the meat that is raised ethically and naturally on pasture, and the fun booths. I always grab a beet-apple-ginger juice while my dog gets plenty of cheese samples.
It’s the most fun I could ever have grocery shopping, and I am able to get the best quality, local, and freshest food. The best part is I don’t go overboard on my grocery budget either (well, most of the time). If I bought all the organic produce I get at the farmer’s market in the grocery store, I would spend probably double, or close to it. I also save money on top-quality food through my wonderful CSA.
Here are 5 Reasons I shop at Farmer’s Markets
1. The Food is Fresh
I’m not picking up wilted kale at the market. I’m getting vegetables that are often fresh-picked that morning. You can tell the food is fresh just by looking at it. The produce is loaded with bright colors and just look crisp and fresh. With fresh food comes more nutrients.
2. You’re Getting Nutrient-Dense Foods
Freshly picked food is loaded with the most nutrients. Foods lose nutrients when they are exposed to light, heat, and time. So, those grocery store veggies that have traveled across the country and sat in the store for days are not exactly full to the brim with nutrients? Yes, they are great for you, but the fresh kale or cauliflower from the farmer’s market will have the most nutrients. They are often picked that morning or the day before, and they don’t travel very far.
3. You Can Learn about your Food
At the farmer’s market, you can often talk to the farmer directly. You have the chance to ask them how they grow their produce or animals. Many stands may not be labeled as organic but follow organic practices. They may just not want to pay for the organic certification. You can ask if the beef is grass-fed or not. You can even just have a conversation about local food with your local farmer! Community and connections are what makes the farmer’s market so fun. There’s no farmer at each stand in the grocery store telling you where and how the food was grown.
4. There’s more options.
If you browse the farmer’s market, you may find purple cauliflower, multi-colored tomatoes, yellow and purple carrots, and more. These heirloom varieties are not as available in the grocery store where you can find the standard orange carrots and red tomatoes. It’s fun to explore and find different foods. Personally, I can’t stand grocery store tomatoes because they taste so bland to me. Give me a summer heirloom tomato any day though!
5. Local tastes better.
Finally, local produce tastes so much better. This is why I choose to eat local, in-season food. I look forward to fresh, summer blueberries every year because the off-season ones just do not taste right. I’d rather pick my own local blueberries than get bland ones from the grocery store. If you don’t believe me that local tastes better, head to the farmer’s market and get food for a local meal. Cook it that night, and taste the difference!
I’m counting down the days until the outdoor farmer’s market opens for me. I can’t wait to get back to my Saturday morning tradition of exploring the farmer’s market and grocery shopping for the best, local food outside rather than using a cart inside a store that is filled with boxes and packages.