Farmers markets have increased from under 2,000 to over 8,000 in the last 20 years. While markets are as old as human civilization, the last 2-3 generations have become more accustomed to the convenience of supermarkets, packaged and prepared foods. Buying, washing and preparing veggies from scratch had become a rare occasion. The revival of framers markets is definitely here! From novelties at first 20 years ago ("hey, lets walk through this cute farmers market..."), it is now possible to get the bulk of your foods at these beautiful farmers markets found everywhere. Beyond fruits and vegetables, they now also offer eggs, grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, nuts, heirloom seeds, seedlings, cheeses, sausages, olive oil and flowers. You can stock up for the week at a fraction of the cost of shopping at a health food store. In addition there are some noteworthy benefits:
Fruits and vegetables are fresher, and therefore, taste better. In my opinion, fruits and vegetables at a farmers’ market usually taste fresher and better than those bought at a health food chain.It’s healthier and more sustainable to eat food that is locally grown. Eating food grown in the local area cuts down on the money, energy, and resources needed to ship the food to you. By cutting down on the natural resources used to transport your food to you, you’re doing your part to help the environment.It’s outside. Being outside and getting some exposure to the sun can be of great benefit to your health. (If you have any sensitivities or skin disorders that become aggravated with sun exposure, you’ll have to use your best judgement to determine how much exposure is best for you.) The sun is the greatest source of Vitamin D there is. Vitamin D is great for boosting immunity, supporting healthy bones and skin, and increasing serotonin, therefore reducing the chances of depression.It helps to build community in your city or neighborhood. One of the great things about going to the farmers’ market is that you have the opportunity to talk with like-minded, health-conscious individuals in your community.It creates an excellent opportunity to communicate with those who grow or create the foods that you eat. It’s important to know what you’re eating. And what better way to find out what’s in your food then being able to talk to the person who grows it and sells it to you? With the grower right there, you can find out if the tomatoes you’re thinking about purchasing are organic or not. And if the farm doesn't have an organic certification, is it because they couldn't afford the high price of the organic certification even though they don’t spray any chemicals or pesticides on their produce? You can find out all these intricate details by talking to the grower, which you couldn't do by shopping at a chain store. Most of the growers and business owners are more than willing to talk to their customers about their product and educate them about any politics regarding sustainable agriculture, Prop. 37, etc.Instead of giving your money to large corporations, you’re supporting local farmers and small business owners. Local farmers and small business owners need the money more than large health food chains. A lot of times, small farms and small businesses are just getting their start, and don’t have a lot of financial backing. It’s up to the consumer to decide if they like what they’re selling, and support them so that their business will prosper.
Here is a great little video by Michael Pollan.