Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus.See all posts »
As I mentioned yesterday, I was just in New York, a city where it’s difficult not to have fabulous culinary experiences. But one of my favorite was the Union Square Greenmarket, the largest Farmer’s Market in the city, held every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I’ve blogged about the benefits of Farmer’s Markets before, but as spring approaches (when many non-year round markets begin to open in some parts of the country), I just had to mention this again.
In addition to many gorgeous plants, this market carried goods from each of the food groups. There were whole grains as well as freshly baked whole grain breads, in season, locally grown fruits and vegetables (many organic), locally raised meats (free of hormones and antibiotics), products from small, local dairies including both goat and cow milks, cheeses and yogurts, local maple syrup, nuts, seeds, honey, jams, and oils. There were even homemade baked goods made with freshly prepared ingredients like rhubarb pie and apple turnovers.
Having grown up in upstate New York, I recognized many of the towns the food originated from, and since I traveled through those areas most of my life, I felt a real connection to this food. I had a sense that I knew where it came from, had seen it growing, and because I had tended to a garden in NY state as both a child and an adult home owner, I could even recall harvesting some of it myself. I’ve never experienced that feeling shopping at a supermarket, and it felt pretty amazing.
Right now, trust and security in our food supply is a critical issue. According to surveys, the pet food recalls, contaminated peanut butter and spinach, mad cow disease, and other food safety scares have left consumers shaken. But when I picked up an apple at the Greenmarket (which actually smelled like an apple by the way), talked face to face with the farmer who grew it, asked him what the best use for it was, how it was grown, and how long ago it was picked, I felt great about buying and eating it (and it was absolutely delicious!).
Obviously we can’t buy 100% of our food from a Farmer’s Market, but you can get quite a lot depending on the size of the market. And locally grown, in-season food is good for farmers, good for you and good for the planet. So what do you think? Do you frequent Farmer’s Markets? If so, how does your experience differ from buying your food at the grocery store? Please share your thoughts!
To find out where and when your local Farmer’s Markets are, click here.
photo courtesy of Geek Philosopher