When it comes to fresh fruits and vegetables, you can bet that farmers’ markets have something for everyone in the family – from plump red tomatoes to purple turnips. Farmers’ markets also often feature naturally or organically grown produce. The perfect time to go to farmers’ markets is during late summer to early fall. Farmers’ markets are held in public spaces, often outdoors, where farmers can sell their produce to the public. Farmers’ markets are also resources in helping promoting nutrition education, developing wholesome eating habits, and learning ways for better food preparation.
There are many benefits to shopping at farmers’ markets; here are some!
- Because the produce are grown locally and picked at the peak of their season, the fruits and vegetables are abundant in nutrients, phytochemicals, taste, texture, and aroma. Remember to eat a RAINBOW of colors!
- The produce prices are often lower in the farmers’ market than at grocery stores.
- It benefits both small local farmers and the community. Did you know that the average food item in the United States travel approximately 1,300 to 1,500 miles before reaching our dinner table? These long distances in transportation requires tremendous amounts of energy and resources! In fact, 90% of the world’s food system fossil fuel energy is used for packaging, transporting, and marketing of food as opposed to the 10% that is used in producing food! How inefficient!!
So the next time you go to a farmers’ market, try a new fruit or vegetable! You can even ask the vendor for his or her favorite way to prepare the new produce you want to try out! They will be more than happy to share their favorite recipes! In addition, there might be special events taking place at the market, such as fun activities for the kids, and cooking demonstrations! Check for events at your local market! Speaking of children, another fun way to explore the market can be to give your children $2-5 each, and let them select a new produce that they want to try out! Visit www.localharvest.org.
Have you checked out your local farmers’ market? What new produce did you try?
Research Assistance provided by Rachel Yam