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!
- Local Foods by the Season: Recipes and food preservation handouts
- Info for helping people getting started selling foods locally
- PowerPoint and handout on shopping at the Farmers Market
Written with assistance from Lindsey Toth, MS, RD