OK. I’m not actually going to write a poem.
But those of you who know me have probably heard me wax poetic about our local Famer’s Market. I LOVE going to Market on Saturday mornings, so let me share some of the reasons why shopping at your Farmer’s Market is such a glorious thing to do.
(Note: All of these pictures were taken of amazing produce at my Farmer’s Market!)
1. You can’t beat the taste. If you have ever had baby potatoes that were just unearthed, or spinach picked the day before, then you know what I mean. Fresh, local produce is tender, crisp, and flavorful—exactly what it was intended to be. A tomato that ripened on the vine yesterday is going to be the juiciest, most amazing tomato you have ever had!
2. You can’t beat the nutrition. The produce at your Farmer’s Market was allowed to ripen in the ground, on the tree, or on the vine, which means it will be packed with vitamins and minerals along with all of that amazing taste. Plus, it’s more likely that your local farmers are going to be using organic practices as well as non-GMO seeds. So if those qualities are important to you, head to the Market!
3. You’re supporting the local economy. When I go to Farmer’s Market, I buy scones from my friend Karen, flowers from Julie, and all sorts of produce from Jen. My point is, I’m spending my money with my neighbors and friends, so all of that money stays right here in my community. That matters to me. Plus, it’s simple: If you want there to be small farmers in the US, you need to buy products from small farmers. That’s an investment I’m willing to make.
4. All your friends are there! So, I rarely encourage you to give in to peer pressure. But this might be one exception. One of the truly wonderful things about going to Farmers Market is the opportunity to interact with your friends and neighbors. My friend Rex calls our local Market “The Puppy & Baby Parade,” which is pretty accurate. On any given Saturday you’ll see young families, retirees, and everything in between (including me!). If you like a street fair vibe, you’ll love Farmers Market!
So, how do you get the most out of your Farmers Market experience? Here are a few tips from this vet:
1. Buy what’s in season. You’ll have the best experience at Market if you go ready to buy the fruits and vegetables in season in your climate. So in Kansas, you can’t expect to find tomatoes in March or spinach in August. Our market is really stringent about vendors only offering produce grown by farmers in our area, but not all Markets are so vigilant. So if you find mangoes at Market in Ohio, steer clear!
2. Try something new. Along with buying what’s in season right now, be ready to try fruits or vegetables that are unfamiliar. Sunchokes? Purple carrots? Kohlrabi? They’re all fabulous if you’re willing to give them a try.
3. Ask for advice and cooking hints. Which leads me to my next point. If you don’t know what to do with kohlrabi, ask the farmer who’s selling it. Find out their favorite way of preparing it, and then give it a try. Remember, they want shoppers to buy their new/exotic produce, so they’ll be ready with great ideas for you.
4. Bring your own bags, and cash. Yes, vendors will have plastic bags available. But why not go all the way “green” and bring your own canvas bags? It’ll save the farmers the cost of the bags, and you won’t be generating additional trash. Also, most vendors work on a cash only basis, so run by the ATM on the way so that you’re ready for whatever tempts you that day. (The exception would be vendors who sell meat and other more expensive items, who will likely be ready to take credit cards.)
So, are you ready??? Let’s get shopping!
Becky Eason, PhD, is an Associate Certified Coach and Certified Leadership Coach. She would love to come with you on your journey for wellness and a happy heart. Learn more on her website: wequestforwellness.com