With summer officially here, thousands of farmers markets have opened across the nation. Each year, more and more are popping up, with the latest figures showing nearly 8,000. In 1994, there were just 1,744.
Going to the farmers market is a lot more fun than heading to the typical grocery store. Who doesn’t enjoy a stroll through a quaint market on a sunny day, browsing what the community has to offer? Farmers markets put you in touch with those that live and grow food around you. They allow you to shake the hand of those that feed you.
Here is a look at just five of the many other reasons you should shop your local farmers market if you aren’t already.
It only makes sense that fruits and veggies at local markets are fresh and flavorful. There is no long shipping time – you might even get a ripe, juicy apple that was picked just hours before you bought it! Fruits are allowed to ripen completely, with produce picked at the peak of its flavor and then delivered directly to the consumer, rather than being artificially ripened and stored for long periods of time.
Unless you plan to visit the farm, it doesn’t get much fresher than this.
Better for Health
Once produce has been picked, it no longer has access to the nutrients in the soil or water. Because the time between harvesting and serving is often less than 24 hours, local foods are more nutrient-rich than produce found at the grocery store.
Most of the food at farmers markets is whole or minimally processed – not irradiated or waxed. Local farmers typically use sustainable techniques that are better for the environment and our health.
At your neighborhood grocery store, most produce has been raised using pesticides and may even be genetically modified; there is no law requiring grocers to label it as such.
Better for the Environment
The average distance that food travels to get to your dinner table is 1,500 miles. Shipping it uses up massive amounts of natural resources, especially fossil fuels. It also contributes to increasing loads of trash in landfills because of the packaging used.
Conventional large-scale farms use significantly more resources than sustainable farms. They pollute our land, air and water with toxins. As the food you’ll find at the farmers market does not have to travel long distances and is grown in a way that minimizes the impact to the planet, it’s much better for us and the world we live in.
Support for Community and Farmers
Shopping at your farmers market supports the local economy instead of massive food conglomerates. Your money stays within your community and also helps to ensure the local farmers can continue their operations.
Better for Animals
Shopping at a farmers market allows you to promote better conditions for animals that are used for our food. The products you’ll buy do not come from animals that were forced to live in cramped and unnatural living conditions, or raised with hormones and antibiotics. Of course, this also means that the meats, eggs and cheese you buy will be much healthier for you, too!
-The Alternative Daily