Summer is the season to stock up on fresh, local food. Whether you’re inspired by the antioxidant-rich asparagus, juicy heirloom tomatoes, or the stone fruits of summer, using locally-sourced produce is the best way to tap into the flavors of the season. Farmers markets are full of fresh produce directly from local farmers- and because the food is seasonal, its at its peak deliciousness. If you’re not already hitting up a farmer’s market this weekend, here are six reasons you should be.
The food is fresh.
The fruits and vegetables you buy at the farmers market are the freshest and tastiest available. Fruits are allowed to ripen fully in the field and then brought directly to the market. No long-distance shipping, no chemicals to simulate the ripening process, no sitting on shelves. This food is fresh from the farm to you.
The food is better for you.
Most of the farmers participating in local markets use organic, chemical-free methods to grow their produce. They’re also more likely to use non-genetically-modified seeds. You’re eating the food grown in your environment, where it has perfectly-created nutrients for your specific climate and region.
You know where your food has been.
A regular trip to the farmers market is one of the best ways to connect with where your food comes from. Meeting and talking to local farmers and foodies s a great opportunity to learn more about how and where the food you’re consuming is produced.
It’s better for the environment.
Shipping uses large amounts of natural resources, contributes to pollution, and creates trash with extra packaging. Conventional agriculture also uses many more resources than sustainable agriculture and pollutes water, land, and air with toxic agricultural by-products.
You’ll support your local community and economy.
Small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy.
It makes eating more fun.
The farmers market carries an amazingly diverse array of produce that you won’t see in the supermarket. From colorful root vegetables, to rainbow colored berries and spices, you’ll always find something new to try at the farmers’ market. A trip to the market is a wonderful opportunity to savor all the flavors in your area.
For a curated collection of recipes featuring unique, locally-sourced ingredients from the Davines community, check out 31 Days of Local Food.
Jaclyn LaBadia, Feature Contributor