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Support the Farmers -- Buy Local

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A group of people relaxing at a Farmer's Market. Weekends are days I love to spend with my family. Whether we go bike riding in the park, walking around our neighborhood or browsing through the farmer’s market, its time well spent! If you have never walked around or bought anything from a farmer’s market, you may want to start! They are one of my favorite places to go with my family. There are two really close to my house that I visit often – one that is set up on Sundays only and a permanent market that is located right by my office, where I frequently stop on the way home from work. If you are still on the edge about visiting your local farmer’s market, here are 8 reasons/benefits you should start shopping there weekly!

Fresh Produce: You can smell the freshness of the fruits and vegetables in the air! The fruits and vegetables you see on display to buy were recently picked and if you ask, the farmers can probably tell you exactly when it was. Yes, the produce at the grocery store is fresh, but how fresh? Where was it shipped from? At the farmers market you know it’s REALLY fresh! Plus, you may even notice your produce will last longer because it didn’t spend all that time on a truck.

Tons of Variety: You will find a ton of variety at the farmer’s market. You may just be looking for lettuce and come across 6 different types of lettuce -- some you may have not have even heard of before. Same with potatoes! Ever seen a purple potato or purple carrot before? They exist!

Supporting local farmers: I am such an advocate for supporting local famers. When you buy from the farmer’s market, you are actually putting money back into your community and enabling them to continue to produce healthy, nutritious food for you.

Tons of color: You will see all the vibrant colors of all the different fruits and vegetables the farmers have to offer. More color means more nutrients as many of the antioxidants and phytochemicals contained in fruits and vegetables are what give produce their beautiful colors. Have your family each pick out a vegetable so you can add more color to your plate for your Sunday dinner!

Food Labels…don’t need them: Fruits and vegetables are the most nutritious foods around and don’t require a food label because everyone knows they are low in calories, fat, and cholesterol. If you buy some of the other products the farmers market has to offer like meat and want to know more about it, the farmer will be able to tell you exactly when it was processed and what the animal ate while it was being raised.

New items: Farmer’s markets are not just for buying produce although you can find some interesting fruits. My intern just said she bought a prickly pear the other day and it was something new she had never had before. You will also find other items such as different flavors of honey, flowers, hot sauces, meats, and even small little hand crafted gifts, all made locally.

Kid friendly: Any open outdoor space where my kids can release energy is always welcomed. The farmer’s market on Sundays in downtown Orlando is around Lake Eola where they have free range to run. There is also a playground and swan boats you can go paddling in. Lots to do!

Organic food: Much of the produce that is offered at farmer’s market is organic. You can actually ask them exactly what methods they used. In order for something to be labeled as organic, farmers are required to follow certain procedures which have to be documented by government agencies. The other benefit is that you can organic food for a lot cheaper than in the store.

 

Check out your local Farmer’s Market this weekend. The fall foods are sure to be abundant!

 

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Tags: Healthy Eating

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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