It’s that time again! Summer: when all the fruits and veggies are deliciously fresh.
Weekend farmers markets are popping up more and more in large cities and small towns across the globe.
Whether you’ve never been or have only gone a few times, you should definitely make it a priority to shop at your local farmers market over grocery stores.
Not so convinced? Check out these five reasons, and you will be.
Why You Should Shop At The Farmers Market
1. It’s healthier
All food loses nutritional value over time. As a consumer, you have the luxury to be more strategic and thoughtful about your purchases if you want to get the most bang for your buck.
Locally grown and raised foods are often considered superior when it comes to higher levels of protein, vitamins, and minerals. According to Kathleen Frith of the Harvard School of Public Health, locally grown food “ensure[s] maximum freshness, flavor, and nutrient retention” by significantly minimizing the processes of conventional practices.
Farmers markets are local and direct, and produce is usually offered within 24 hours post-harvest, at the climax of maturity and therefore with the highest level of nutrition. Go local!
2. You’ll learn a lot
You can learn so much about the area you live in: its native species, what varieties of produce fairs best, how to farm for yourself even on a small scale, and so much more.
Farmers markets aren’t just a quirky weekend attraction for eclectic locals and tourists; they can be the heart of your community. The vendors are typically deeply rooted in the history of the area and are often full of all kinds of facts and information. Ask away!
3. It’s fun!
You may be looking to stock up on fruits and veggies, but food and produce is simply the tip of the market experience.
Candle makers, jewelers, artists, brewers, craftsmen, musicians, etc. are sprinkled throughout the weekend venue in this outlet of creativity and expertise.
Add friendly people, kids, and pets, and you’ve got even more reasons to visit regularly. Your local farmers market is a special place for the whole family…even the dog!
Related: 6 Health Benefits Of Pets
4. You’ll be supporting your community
Firstly, you are taking initiative in choosing to explore alternatives to the chain gang supermarket experience. Boo, Walmart.
Secondly, by simply attending this local event, you are also recognizing and supporting the work of the individuals and families who make an honest and community-driven living.
5. You’ll get your daily dose of vitamin D
Did you know that most Americans are deficient in vitamin D?
Vitamin D, synthesized through the sun’s ultraviolet-B rays, just happens to be one benefit that is vital to our health and wellbeing.
Leading expert on vitamin D and author of “The Vitamin D Solution”, Dr. Michael Holick, suggests alleviating deficiencies by spending regular time outside. Guess where farmers markets are? Outside! (Just don’t get burned!)
6. You’ll be helping the environment
Not only are you are you doing good for yourself and your family by frequenting farmers markets, you’re making a positive environmental statement and impact.
Related: 16 Easy Ways To Help Save The Earth
Buying local is better for the environment simply because there’s significantly less energy and environmental degradation involved in the production, distribution, and sales of any particular item.
Compared to corporations, buying local requires less fuel and produces less CO2 emissions.
In the food you purchase at farmers markets, there are zero (in the case of Certified Organic) or a minuscule amount of preservatives, chemicals, pesticides, herbicides or synthetic fertilizers that can penetrate the soil, destroy the biodiversity of the land, and contaminate water supply through run off.
On top of all that, you have to consider the energy saved on transportation and storage when you shop local.
By buying your produce locally, you’re doing more than making a healthy choice; you’re supporting sustainable and local agricultural practices, which in turn helps to save the earth. Good work!
For the health conscientious and informed consumer (you!), farmers markets are a readily accessible opportunity for nurturing wellbeing and development. Nutritionally, educationally, socially, and environmentally, there are considerable benefits to shopping at your local farmers market.
When making plans to go, remember to bring along your family (including the pooch), a recycled bag or two for purchases, a full water bottle for your own hydration, sunscreen (for your face!), sunglasses, cash…and an open mind.
Check out LocalHarvest.org to find a market in your neighborhood.
A meta-psychosocial scholar of human development and nutrition, CC Larrabee originates from the eclectic mecca of Boulder, Colorado. Rooted in Americana, having traveled, explored and lived all across U.S., CC is a psychology graduate and zealous believer in the power of nature, holistic health and passionate occupation. Currently, CC dwells in a rural region surrounded by the great state of Texas… just a stone’s throw outside of Austin.
Photo by heanster
Originally published in June 2013, updated in June 2014.