Shopping local is good for your health, the community and the planet. Food is typically fresher since it doesn't have to travel long distances and is often grown using organic farming methods. There is also a lower risk of contamination since there is less handling from harvest to table. Additionally, fewer resources are used and less pollution created during transport.
Aside from giving you something fun to do on a nice day, farmers markets increase access to fresh food and bring it to neighborhoods that need it most. In low-income neighborhoods, 60% of shoppers say their farmers market had better prices than the grocery store. According to the Farmers Market Coalition, living close to a farmers market is even associated with having a lower body mass index (BMI).
Headed to your local farmers market this weekend? Put these things on your list:
- In-season produce – Produce grown by local farmers is likely to taste fresher than what you'll find at the store. You'll also find more varieties and those fruits and veggies will retain more nutrients, since they were most likely just picked. Tomatoes, berries and carrots are especially great finds at farmers markets. Ask about growing practices if that's important to you.
- Honey – Each batch of honey has a slightly different taste, depending on local flowers and trees. Not only does it taste delicious, but honey from local bees may even help your seasonal allergies. Look at labels carefully though because not all honey sold at farmers markets is made locally.
- Eggs – Free-range eggs from a local farm taste so fresh and may even be healthier for you. These eggs are likely to contain more vitamins A, E and D, beta carotene and omega-3 fatty acids and less cholesterol and saturated fat than store-bought eggs.
- Grass-fed beef – Higher in omega-3 fatty acids and lower in fat and calories than beef you'll find in the supermarket, this beef also tastes great. Just make sure that any meat you buy has been refrigerated properly.
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Date Last Reviewed: June 19, 2018
Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor