Going to the farmers market is one of the ways I find my down time. There is a relaxed, leisurely feel from the local musicians singing, that allows me to pause and be present in my surroundings. It’s probably one of the few times during the week when I don’t feel rushed to stay on task. This is just one of so many more reasons why I love shopping there, and after reading this post, I’m hoping you’ll take a stroll to your nearest one. Local Harvest will help you find a market in your local area, along with your local CSA, if you would prefer your produce delivered. For those of you not familiar with this, it stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, you order a box of vegetables each week from your local farmers that are then delivered to your door. Pretty good deal, right? It’s a wonderful way to experiment with new veggies, and get to know where your food comes from. It’s good for the farmers too, because it keeps their income flowing, allowing them to work more efficiently.
Ok, so here are your Five Reasons:
1. The first and most obvious is that everything is at the peak of freshness. Most of the produce is either picked that morning or the day before, making them taste the way they were meant to. It makes cooking easier, because the vegetables don’t really need much to taste good. It also gives them a longer shelf life than produce bought at the grocery store, which brings me to my next point.
2. It’s less expensive than grocery stores because you are buying produce in the season it actually grows in. I’m always poking around other stores, comparing, because I’m curious like that. I found cauliflower at one of our local grocery stores for $5.00 a head, where at the market, they are as low as $2.00, even for organic. Most of the farmers are willing to negotiate too, especially if you go later in the day before they close.
3. It’s fun and informative! There is such a wonderful sense of community at a Farmers Market. People are friendly, and make eye contact with you, even here in Silicon Valley, where most people have their heads down speeding to their next appointment. It gives me plenty of opportunity to chat with others about how they like to cook their veggies. A couple of weeks ago, I rediscovered a new way to cook my greens that had my boyfriend asking for more. Just this last week, I was chatting with a little girl who was meticulously picking out her very little brussel sprouts, because her and her mom didn’t want to cut them in half before cooking them. Love that!
4. You get to know who your farmers are and how they grow your food. I love seeing Kelly from Montebello Farm, which is only about 15 miles from where I live. I also love knowing their family picked my beets and my other produce the night before I bought them. There is great peace of mind in knowing that I can find out anything I want to about the food I am eating. It is especially important to me to trust the people I buy my food from. After all, their food will become my cells, my blood, my thoughts and my actions. Good quality food grown with Consciousness actually tastes better too. That may sound weird, but it has been proven to me over and over again.
5. It’s cleaner for you and the environment. There are both certified organic farmers and non certified farmers, but even the farmers who aren’t officially certified don’t use commercial pesticides. Produce that is shipped from Chile, or Peru requires fuel and packaging materials that add to our already saturated landfills and our carbon footprint. Purchasing veggies at the Farmers Market doesn’t guarantee all of the farms are within a certain amount of mileage; some come as far as 250 miles. Of course that is far better, than now knowing, but there is something wonderful about knowing that my money is helping to support my local economy and the people who live here.
Shopping for produce, or any other healthy foods that might not be familiar, can feel confusing, or overwhelming; I’ve helped many people sort through the madness by explaining the various food categories and pointing out the most nutritious choices they can make. If you would like some company on your next trip to the grocery store, I would love to help you too.