Everyone loves farmers markets right? What's not to love? Spending beautiful, sunny summer mornings walking outside surrounded by fresh fruits and vegetables, the smell of freshly baked goods and friendly farmers. Sounds like paradise! Not to mention the valuable time you get to spend with your family, friends, and community. It almost feels like you step back in time a few years...before giant grocery store chains and buying in bulk were the norm.
The truth is that farmers markets are more important now than ever. Our society has become increasingly detached from real food and as a result, the very real people who work their fingers to the bone to produce it. Big Ag has largely taken over our food economy, and we've all heard the horror stories of meat packing plants and chicken farms. Yes grocery stores are incredibly convenient...trust us we know it's unreasonable to ask people to shop exclusively at farmers markets. But when you have the opportunity, we want to implore you to take advantage of buying local from local people. Here's why:
1. Buy FRESH:
The produce you purchase in grocery stores has, by and large, traveled a long way and has definitely been sitting there for a few days. Food in the US travels an average of 1500 miles before it gets to your plate. How can we expect fresh produce to retain its integrity after that amount of time and travel?
Farmers market produce on the other hand has likely been picked the very morning you purchase it. It gets picked at its peak ripeness, guaranteeing you an excellent (and delicious) product. And have you ever noticed farmers market produce even looks more colorful than grocery store produce? That's because by and large...it is! More color = more nutrients.
2. Ethically-Raised ANIMAL PRODUCTS:
One of our personal favorite things to shop for at our local markets is animal products. Small farmers generally raise their animal humanely and without hormones or antibiotics. Chicken and beef are free-range and grass-fed, and have likely lived the happiest possible lives. We love supporting these farmers in their endeavor to keep ethical animal husbandry alive and well!
3. Try a Vegan diet (at least a day or two a week):
Research has proven that diets that exclude animal products are better fir the environment. Animals require more land and water than plant-based foods, and have an enormous impact on our carbon footprint. If we choose to avoid meat even once or twice a week, we could make a real difference to the environment. The best part? Black garlic is a vegan product, so you can still use our favourite addition in your dishes! If you want to learn more about the environmental benefits of vegan diets, check out this article from HealthListed.com.
4. Shopping ORGANIC (without crazy prices!):
For the most part, small farmers use organic farming methods. Big Ag has come under a lot of heat in the past few years for how many chemicals they're spraying on produce, causing an unknown number of harmful effects on our health, the health of our air, animals and bugs, and the environment. The produce you purchase at farmers market likely contains 0 chemicals, which means you absolutely know exactly what you're putting into your body. Can't argue with that!
Additionally, the organic produce at farmers market is rarely as expensive as purchasing similar organic produce in stores.
5. When you shop at markets, you SUPPORT LOCAL FAMILIES AND THE LOCAL ECONOMY:
Most farmers market produce is grown within 100 miles of where you're purchasing it. That means you are actively supporting local jobs, local people and your local economy. As Big Ag gains more and more control over the vast tracts of farmable land, supporting small farmers becomes increasingly more vital. The ROI of your purchase is tangible, and honestly makes a lot of people's days (including yours!) brighter.
6. Farmers Markets are BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT:
As we mentioned above, food typically travels 1500 miles before it reaches the average Americans' plate. And that's an average! We aren't going to get into the carbon footprint of food, but you can imagine that food purchased from the grocery store has an incredible environmental impact.
Family farms as a whole tend to use less fertilizers and pesticides, and definitely produce less waste than Big Ag (you'd be amazed). And the food you purchase at farmers markets definitely hasn't traveled 1500 miles to get there.
There are SO many reasons to purchase produce when you can from your local farmers market. You can often find more of a variety of products and produce you've never even heard of, farmers and sellers have cookings tips and recipe ideas for you to take advantage of, markets are affordable, seasonal and local...the list goes on!
There are farmers markets in most areas. Look up one near you, and stop by! You may be surprised and delighted about what you are able to find. With all the benefits in mind, we implore you to buy that freshly baked loaf of bread, find a new vegetable you've never heard of to try, engage with your local farmers and chat with them about their farm and their products. Not only will you make their day, but you will make your dinners even more colorful and fresh in the process.
Thank you for supporting our local farming community. We so appreciate you, and look forward to seeing you out there! Here's a calendar of where we'll be this summer...we hope to see you.