by Laura Howenstine, KSC Dietetic Intern
The weather is warming up, flowers are blooming and summer farmers’ markets are opening shop. Why make the special trip to visit a local farmers’ market? Here are five good reasons:
- You get super-fresh produce. Supermarkets typically ship their produce in from around the country, as well as international countries. Longer travel time means less nutrition, greater cost and lower quality produce. At a farmers’ market the question of freshness is never an issue because the food travels just a few miles versus thousands of miles.
- Farmers’ markets are environmentally-friendly. When you think of the thousands of miles that food travels (usually by gasoline-powered trucks) to get to your plate, it is easy to see why choosing local is better for the environment. Plus, farmers usually forgo Styrofoam or extra packaging. And don’t forget to bring along your own bags to the market.
- You can try new locally-grown foods. With each season comes new fruits and vegetables. The farmers’ market is a perfect place to challenge your palate. It is easier when the farmer who has grown the food is there to answer your questions. Ask the farmer for a taste (samples are usually available). Ask the farmer ways to cook or prepare the fruit or vegetable. . The farmers’ market is the perfect place make new discoveries about healthy food.
- You will be supporting your local economy. Shopping locally helps support community members by providing income to farmers and supporting sustainable agriculture.
- You’ll feel more connected to your community. Having a conversation with farmers about the food they grow, and how you can best use it is an empowering experience. You begin to feel more grounded and connected to the community you live in. Plus farmers’ markets are usually social events with food tasting, cooking and even live music. Markets are a great way to meet new people, discover local events, get to know your local farmers and bump into old friends.
So this season, stop by one of the Monadnock Region markets listed below to check out the colorful array of fresh fruits, vegetables, crafts, baked goods and beverages. Acceptable forms of payment at most markets include cash, credit, debit and EBT cards.