National Farmers' Market Week Kicks Off

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Farmer's MarketIf you have ever stood in the sunshine nibbling warm, sweet snap peas directly from a farmer’s market box, if you have ever sampled a perfectly garnet strawberry and had a gush of fragrant berry juice trickle down your chin, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say that one powerful food experience can shift your entire relationship to food.

This Sunday kicks off National Farmer's Market Week, a time to showcase the growing resiliency of local food systems across the country-and to celebrate some the most important foods that can lead us to new paths of health and healing-namely, fruits and vegetables.

“Of all the food systems innovation in the last 20 years”, says Richard McCarthy of Slow Food USA, "the resurgence of farmers markets may represent the best DIY expression of community involvement and reinvention.”

Farmers Markets offer us connections we crave, such as local food, sensuous eating pleasure and vibrant regional economies. And most importantly, they help us put a face to our food-something rather rare in today's global food economy.

Here’s how you can get involved:
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  1. Visit your local farmers market. Summer is the most glorious time to eat produce at its peak ripeness, teeming with good-for-you nutrients in their fullest expression-nature’s whole package. The best part? When food is at it’s peak, very little needs to be done to it-Much of it can be eaten delicious RAW-fresh salads and fruit...saving you the time and energy of cooking.
  2. Host a GROW dinner. This new project from Oxfam is “the brand new way to feed your family in the 21st century”. It’s 5 Simple Steps offers a roadmap: cooking and buying food efficiently, reducing food waste, buying what’s in season and produced locally, reducing meat consumption (and adding more plants) and buying products that benefits small scale producers. With gorgeous seasonal recipes and easy videos to get you started.
  3. Get growing with your children. Check out my recent Earth’s Best article  to discover the latest research on how to help your children cultivate a fresh, lasting connection to food by growing something themselves. And it’s based in something every child loves-dirt.

How often do you enjoy farmer's markets in the summer? I'd love to hear about your experiences...

See you at the market!

6 Reasons to Visit Your Farmer's Market THIS WEEK

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With over 5,000 farmer's markets operating in the US this summer, there’s literally never going to be an easier time  to step out of the supermarket and fill your fork with amazingly fresh local food.  If you still haven’t taken the plunge, here are my top reasons to give it a go:

 

1. Discover foods not available in the grocery store. Baby heads of tender lettuces, a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, donut peaches-all of this delicious nuance of nature is lost in bigger supermarkets.

2. Take home a truly tasty tomato. Honestly-when you sink your teeth into these perfectly sweet, juicy, tasty gems you will ask yourself “why bother?” with any of those mealy, out of season pucks you get the rest of the year. And you’ll pack over 50% of your daily dose of vitamin C in one hearty tomato.

3. Retire a picky eater for a day. Get kids tasting! Kids love tasting their way through markets. Get them excited about new things to try, then carry on the adventure by encouraging them to choose some produce bring home for dinner. Research shows us if kids are involved in choosing, and feel a connection to growing their food, they are more likely to try it.

4. Put a face to your food. It’s a perfect chance to ask your farmers all the questions you want to know about your food-like how was it produced? Especially with many smaller farmers who choose not to go the costly route of USDA Organic certification, it’s a great opportunity to get the lowdown.

5. Buy a beautiful plant you know will grow locally. Because it was raised locally it is more apt to fit your states climate and water status-and you can ask the master gardeners who are selling them.

6. Keep your dollars in your local economy. When you shop at your farmers money those dollars stay in your community instead of being siphoned off to larger regional and national outlets.

For more reasons, tips & tools visit: http://lancaster.unl.edu/food/ft-jul-10.shtml.

Looking for more farmer's market resources? Check out the links below!

  1. Local Foods by the Season: Recipes and food preservation handouts
  2. Info for helping people getting started selling foods locally
  3. PowerPoint and handout on shopping at the Farmers Market

 

Written with assistance from Lindsey Toth, MS, RD