By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
Farmers markets have exciting food options, colorful produce, free samples, budget-friendly prices and of course, an amazing atmosphere. I love to go to them and see and observe all the people there — farmers markets are a community-spirited event, enabling little businesses and farmers the ability to deliver quality sustainable produce directly.
To be honest, I avoid shopping in large supermarkets as much as I can and try to buy quality produce from independent sellers. This isn’t always possible for everyone, but if you have a local farmers market and you’ve been thinking about visiting it, then I recommend you try it out!
Here are the top 6 reasons to shop at your local farmers market:
Since you’re buying your produce directly, you can often grab a bargain, buying your produce for less. You can get deals on larger purchases. Here’s another tip: Shop towards the end of the market day — as the stall owners are closing down they often start selling food at a bargain price rather than wasting their food.
When you cut out the middle man and buy directly you can certainly save your pennies and as the stall owners become familiar with you and see that you are a returning customer I often find they are happy to throw in some extras or give you a discount.
I always find that farmers market stall owners are often very proud of their produce and food (and so they should be!) and love to share recipes, ideas and educate you on their produce. You certainly won’t get that in a supermarket; I feel lucky if clerks can point me in the right direction when I’m on the hunt for something particular.
The thought of all of our food and produce being sold only in large supermarkets gives me a cold chill. Prices get driven down and little given to the farmer while premium prices are charged to the consumer all in the name of profit. Small businesses need our support — cutting out the middle man can make it cheaper and better for the smaller businesses and for the consumer.
Often the produce has just been made, prepared or picked when you buy it directly. The large supermarket chains source produce from all over the country and world for the cheapest prices to gain the best profits. This often means by the time you are buying it, it was picked a while ago. The longer the produce has been picked and stored, the lower the nutrient content can be.
Juicing old produce often doesn’t give you the greatest amount of juice either and the juice may not be as vibrant and as tasty, so going directly to the famers market not only gives you great nutrient dense produce but can also give you more juice in your juice.
When you buy very fresh produce, it is more likely to have a higher nutrient content. Plus, you’re likely to be buying organic produce that will be free of herbicides and pesticides. Some growers can’t afford to purchase an organic certification so you might find that they don’t use sprays but since the produce isn’t officially organic, it can be offered at a lower price.
Here’s another health bonus: By shopping at the farmers market, you avoid being in an environment that sells processed foods, decreasing the likelihood that you’ll bring home food that won’t do you any good. Often people go into a supermarket to grab a few things and may be tempted to buy other foods due to unconscious advertising that can influence your choices.
At the farmers market all the food is fresh and almost always 100 percent whole food. It’s also likely to not contain any additives and other unhealthy additions that large food manufacturers often add to extend the shelf life.
The food is locally sourced which means there is less resources used for the storing and shipping of the produce to get to you. This is certainly a good choice for our environment.