From enjoying the produce at its freshest, to sampling tasty recipes, to mingling with your neighbors and the local farmers who grow your food, there are many benefits of buying seasonal fruits and vegetables at the local farmer’s markets. Listed below are a few.
Farm Fresh Produce
The produce sold in the grocery stores is typically several days old before it even ends up in the produce department. Before fruits and vegetables end up in the store, it is shipped out in refrigerated trucks, sometimes from thousands of miles away. That’s not the case with Farmer’s market produce, which is allowed to fully ripen in the field, harvested, then delivered directly to the farmer’s market. In other words, no long distance shipping, no gassing to mimic the natural ripening process, no weeks spent in storage. It just doesn’t get “fresher” than farmers market fruits and vegetables.
Farm Fresh Means Better Taste
There’s nothing quite like biting into a farm fresh tomato. If you haven’t had the chance to savor a “straight from the farm” or garden tomato, do yourself a favor and try one. Chances are you’ll be amazed at the incredible taste. Fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s market always taste better because they’re harvested at the peak of ripeness and fresh when they get to the farmer’s market. Anything you cook with farm-fresh, seasonal produce also adds a wonderful texture and taste to any recipe.
Nutrient Rich Super Foods
The vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables found at the farmers’ market will tell you just how wonderfully nutritious they are. The majority of local farmers use conscientious farming methods in order to cultivate “super” nutritious produce. We’re fairly sure you’d notice the difference between the produce offered at the farmers’ market and the ones sold at the grocery store. You probably already know this, but it’s worth mentioning – the vibrant colors in fruits and vegetables reflect of the nutrients that they contain.
Organic/ Non-GMO Options
Today there are a lot of farmers participating in local farmer’s markets that organically grow their produce and label it as such, ensuring that their buyers know that they’re getting chemical free products. Farmers that focus on growing organically are also quite likely going to use non-modified seeds.
Supports Local Farmers
Over the years, local family farms have diminished in numbers, giving in to the high cost of running a farm and stiff competition from huge conglomerate operated farming operations. Buying your fruits and vegetables from a farmer’s market supports these local family farms, providing them with the capital they need to keep farming.
Shop for a Fun Variety of Items
Some farmer’s markets also have local’s with booths selling other items (honey, homemade jams, oils, dressing, etc.), arts and crafts, clothing and all natural soaps and lotions.
Recipes, Cooking Tips, and Meal Ideas
Chances are that the staff at your local grocery store won’t give you cooking tips and suggest fun ingredients to try, but you’ll find that many people selling at farmer’s markets are passionate about cooking and are happy to share tips about how to use what they’re selling and even have samples to taste.
Get to Know Your Community
Strolling through your local farmer’s market, shopping for fresh produce and other things is a lot more fun than aisle surfing that the grocery store. The farmers market is kind of like a mini local festival of sorts and a welcoming hub of the community. It’s a great place to bring the kids, meet up with friends and make new ones. It provides a “small-town” vibe, even in big cities that are lucky enough to have farmer’s markets in their communities.
Make a shopping list for the farmer’s market and try this easy summer salad using seasonal vegetables and fruit. This zesty salad is packed with 28 hearty grams of protein.
1 cup sliced pickled beets (jarred or cooked), halved, plus 3 tablespoons of the beet juice
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper (optional)
8 apricots, pitted
Around 8 cups of lightly packed spring salad greens
1/4 cup of crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons of toasted sliced almonds, preferably with skin
Using a bowl, whisk together vinegar, beet pickling juice, and mustard. Slowly add the oil, whisking until well thoroughly combined. Season lightly with salt and pepper (optional).
On medium high, lightly grill apricots, cuts sides down, turning once, cooking until you can see light grill marks (1 to 2 minutes). Place on a plate halved or cut into chunks.
Divide salad greens, sliced beets, grilled apricots, almonds and cheese on 4 plates. Drizzle with the reserved salad dressing and serve.