Have you tried purchasing your food at a Farmer’s Market? I highly recommend it! There are so many benefits to purchasing foods at your local Farmer’s Market. Here are some of the positive aspects below to purchasing food from a Farmer’s Market:
- MEET THE FARMER/grower/worker from the farm! Ask questions about their best farm practices such as, “Do you use pesticides on your vegetables?” or “What do you feed your cows?” or “Do your chickens have access to grass?” Get to know more about your food life cycle so you can make informed decisions and purchase the best foods you possibly can.
- FRESH, HIGH-QUALITY FOOD. At the farmer’s market, chances are the food was freshly picked the day before or the morning of. This allows you to absorb the most nutrients you can from the vegetables or fruits. Farmers at Farmer’s Markets often produce foods that are certified organic or nearly organic. Talk to them about this if its a concern to you.
- TASTINGS/SAMPLES. At a local Farmer’s Market we attend, most vendors provide samples so you can try their tasty wares before purchasing. We have had the pleasure of tasting local, raw honey, savory Indian sauces, granola, gluten-free, homemade pizza, and raw, unpasteurized, organic whole milk on a weekly basis. My children’s favorite bits of attending farmer’s markets are definitely trying the samples!
- SUPPORT A LOCAL FARMER. It is always nice when you can support a local farmer or business. They are trying to make a living just as many people are. I think its nice to support someone local to your area.
- INVOLVE YOUR CHILDREN. When my children come with me to the Farmer’s Market, they see me tasting fresh foods, talking to vendors to learn about the foods, and ultimately purchasing fresh foods that we take home to cook. Children are learning by the daily example we set as parents, and the modeling we are doing. Help them make the world a better place by letting them discover a Farmer’s Market. We often bring along our own bags, because my children love helping. This basket would be a great one to have on hand.
CSA (COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE):
Have you ever tried purchasing a CSA? CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Essentially, a customer like me, purchases a weekly or bi-monthly box of organic, local vegetables from a farm and the payment goes toward the farm’s needs. It allows them to continue growing the food for the community and stay in business.
My family and I began our first CSA with Johnson’s Backyard Garden about a year and a half ago. During the first winter time we received the CSA box twice a month. There were always a variety of dark, leafy greens included in each box. For the first time in my life, I regularly consumed spinach, kale, collard greens and similar dark, leafy greens. One of the best health benefits I experienced was immediately, my headaches that I had suffered from consistently for as long as I could remember, subsided. After doing some research, I attribute this to the consumption of the leafy greens, as they are an amazing superfood.
Another amazing thing about using a CSA box is that it gives me the opportunity to consume foods that I would never have purchased just going into the grocery store. They are a great price, too. I pay for a year up front now because its the most economical option, and best of all it winds up a better price than Whole Foods. I receive a fresh, just picked box of organic produce as part of our weekly CSA and I believe the produce is far superior when it is farm-fresh!
- You can’t choose your specific vegetables. This can be daunting wondering what in the world you are going to do with a turnip, for example. Quickly though, I discovered this was a blessing in disguise. My family and I are exposed to a great variety of foods and nutrients that would never have come into our life had we not done a CSA. We used our fresh mint this week to make homemade strawberry mint sorbet!
- You consume a variety of nutrient-rich, organic, local produce.
- You can choose your pick-up location, day and time. I pick up my CSA box at the local Farmer’s Market. Alternatively, you could choose to pick up at your local grocery store and do all of your grocery shopping for the week in one swoop!
- Johnson’s Backyard Garden (JBG) offers information on storing each vegetable so it will last the optimal amount of time. I have learned so much here!
- JBG also has a blog where you can see beautiful photos of their farm and progress. They provide recipe ideas too to use the produce from your CSA box!
- Finally, you can also volunteer your time in exchange for a free box of vegetables!
Finally, have you attended a Farmer’s Market or have you ever been part of a CSA?