- May 31, 2017
#1 Locally grown produce equals more vitamins and minerals.
When you buy fresh from the farm, the produce is grown to peak ripeness whereas when you buy from a chain, the produce is often picked prematurely without the full potential of all the vitamins and minerals to fully develop within the product. That’s one reason why locally grown produce tastes better and fresher – because it is!
At the farmers’ market, you can find an amazing array of produce that you do not often find at your chain grocery stores. This is a great opportunity to see the quality biodiversity available.
#2 Buying from local farmers boosts the economy in YOUR community.
Not only can you talk to the farmer who grew the produce, but also you can keep your dollars spent in your own community. Small farms have a tough time competing in the food marketplace. Your purchases help them to have a fighting chance against the global economy AND they can continue to provide produce locally with the help of your purchases.
Many farms actually grow organically, but cannot afford the organic certification label and therefore are unable to declare “100% organic.” However, they can answer your questions and you can learn the details of the growing process from the preparation of the soil to pesticides used (if any).
#3 Learn cooking tips, recipes and meal ideas.
Not only do these farmers grow the goods, most prepare them in their own homes, experimenting and utilizing other produce to enhance recipes. They can offer ideas on healthy side dishes, main entrees, or making a full meal from farmer’s market goods. Often, you can find full recipes for foods you purchase right there at the farmers market. Many organizations offer cooking demonstrations at the market as well as local cookbooks to facilitate your meal preparation of produce found there.
#4 The market is outside!
Getting outside with friends and families in your community can help build camaraderie with like-minded and health-conscious people right in your neighborhood. What better way to do that than in fresh air and with food as a commonality.
Additionally, research estimates that approximately ¾ of US adults are Vitamin D deficient. This vitamin, often nicknamed the “sunshine vitamin,” can be obtained in recommended levels with approximately 20 minutes of sunlight directly to your skin 3 times a week. (Be cautious if you have skin sensitivities or other conditions that would complicate sun exposure.) Vitamin D is great for boosting immunity and ongoing research shows potential links for not only Vitamin D, but also for sunshine combating obesity, diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases(1,2).
#5 Promote humane treatment of animals.
Farmers’ markets offer a variety of goods, not limited to produce. Meat, eggs, cheeses, milk (dairy and non-dairy) products are often available. Most of these animals have been raised on green grass, have eaten natural diets, and have been spared the cramped and unnatural living conditions often associated with feedlots and cages that are common in big industry agriculture. Ask the farmer how his animals are raised and fed, he will gladly speak about his practices and share in your love for the humane treatment of his animals.
There are over 100 farmers’ markets in the DC metro area, from Hagerstown to Fredericksburg – find the farmers market closest to you! You can visit: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/food/dc-farmers-markets-interactive-map/ for an interactive map where you can find the exact location & hours of your local farmers market.