It’s summer time, and the best place to get your produce this time of the year is at your local farmers market. Besides the fact that farmers markets are fun and social events for the whole family, there are a lot of reasons why you should start shopping at them if you don’t already!

Let’s face it, most of us should be eating more fruits and vegetables than we do, and stopping by a farmers market every week is the perfect way to get local, fresh food while also supporting your local farmers. The fresh produce from the market also tastes better because it is ripened fully in the field and then brought straight to the market to sell. Produce at grocery stores is often picked before it is ripe and later sprayed with ethylene gas to ripen it artificially. Although this isn’t harmful to us, it results in fruits and vegetables that don’t taste as good as the real thing. Local fruits and veggies are also packed with even more nutrients than their grocery store counterparts, since they don’t have to travel far from the time they are picked until the time they make it onto your plate. Produce that spends more time on the road has more time to lose its nutrients.

Shopping at a farmers market might even encourage you to try something new. You may see fruits and vegetables you aren’t used to seeing in your grocery store. Try swapping out one of your usual fruits or veggies with one you have never tried before. You can even ask the farmer questions about how to prepare them, what they taste like, or even for a sample. Could you do that at a grocery store?

Here are a few other tips for successful farmers market shopping:

  •  Arrive early for the best selection, or late if you are hoping for some bargains.
  • Bring your own bag- many vendors do not supply bags for you.
  • Think about bringing a cooler (on wheels), especially if you are going to buy perishable foods like meat or dairy.
  •  Ask questions. Don’t assume the food being sold is organic or even grown locally. Ask the vendors where their products are coming from!

Chances are that no matter where you live, you have a farmers market near you. If you aren’t sure where your closest one is, you can find out by clicking here. So go out with your friends or family and enjoy the summer air and those nutritious, freshly picked goodies.

Hannah Linden, Certified Health Education Specialist
Patient Advocate Assistant

Resources
Farmers Markets. Nutrition.gov. https://www.nutrition.gov/farmers-markets

Delayed Ripening Technology. ISAAA. https://isaaa.org/resources/publications/pocketk/12/default.asp

Frith, K. (2007). Is local more nutritious? Harvard School of Public Health.https://www.chgeharvard.org/resource/local-more-nutritious

Farmers markets: A fun new way to shop for groceries. Sevier News Messenger. (2015) https://www.seviernewsmessenger.com/2015/07/04/farmers-markets-shopping-tips/

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