June 20, 2016
Visiting farmers markets offers the opportunity to enjoy fresh, local, and delicious produce, herbs and even locally-grown meats and cheeses. Using what’s in season and available directly from local farmers and farmers markets will not only make your meals taste better, but it will also make them more nutritious.
Wondering where to find farmers markets in your area? The United States Department of Agriculture’s Farmers Markets Directory provides searchable info on where to find farmers markets across the country. Also many towns sponsor farmers markets and local farm organizations such as Mass Farmers Markets or the Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership (SEMAP) in Massachusetts provide not only info on where to find farmers markets but also sponsor events and farm-based learning opportunities and events.
If you’re in New York City, Whats Is Fresh offers a farmers market list including locations and times of operation and info on what’s in season and where to find it. The website also has a blog featuring local farmers, chefs and great seasonal recipes.
So why is this all so important? Off season fruits and vegetables travel thousands of miles before the get to the supermarket and ultimately you table. Over this time they loose nutrition and flavor and contribute to pollution and our carbon footprint due to trucking, refrigeration, packaging and storage.
According to 50 Ways to Go Green by Deckopedia Publishing, on average, a conventional food item travels close to 1500 miles from its place of production to that of final purchase. So buying locally-grown food reduced greenhouse gas emissions in addition to supporting your local community growers. It also reduces reliance on plastic, packaging and processing.
Even if you are a meat lover, buying locally grown beef or chicken at farmers markets that is raised on a natural diet is one step toward a more healthy lifestyle. Ask the farmer you are purchasing from about the farm and the livestock feeding program. Most farmers are happy and proud to tell you about the care they take in raising their animals.
One of the really fun things about going to the local farmers market is finding other locally-produced items such as artisanal cheeses, fresh-baked bread, locally roasted or fair trade coffee, and handmade items buy local artisans.
My local farmers market, Fairhaven Farmers Market in Fairhaven, Mass. features all of these things and even wines from our local Running Brook Vineyard. It’s a weekly event for me to see all that is fresh, delicious, and so beautiful from our local farmers. And, one that I enjoy all week as I savor the fresh produce and locally-grown fruits.
So take the farmers market plunge and enjoy all of the local summer’s tasty bounty.
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