As the weather gets warmer, the fruits get sweeter and the veggies get tastier, which means it’s finally produce season. However, where is your produce actually coming from and what is happening to it before it gets to your local grocery store? The average produce in the US travels 1,500 miles, gets sprayed with loads of pesticides and preservatives, and sometimes even receives a nice shiny wax before getting jacked up in price to sit pretty on a shelf in front of you. If you like your apples to be world traveled with a shiny glaze, then perfect! However, it doesn’t have to be that way.
According to the USDA, there are over 8,000 farmers’ markets around the country filled with local farmers ready to sell you their produce. Not only will you be helping a local family in your community if you shop there, but there are loads of other benefits:
- Fruits & veggies at their best – Farmers pick their ripest produce straight from the field, which means no long-distance shipping, no gassing to induce ripening, and no food that has been sitting in storage for weeks.
- Seasonal foods – Farmers only have the food when it is in season, so you will be the sweetest strawberries in the spring, the juiciest watermelon in the summer, the best pumpkins in the fall, and the hardiest greens in the winter.
- Helping the local community – Big agriculture companies have taken over our country, causing small farmers to suffer. However, by shopping at the farmers’ market, you will be helping local families in your community.
- Reduced pollution – All of the travel that food takes leads to large amounts of natural resources being used, pollution occurring in our water, land, and air, and excess trash being created from all of the packaging.
- Improving your heath – A lot of produce has undergone extensive treatment prior to being placed on the shelves of the local grocery store, including: pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, gassing, and waxing. Most local farmers do not participate in these practices and instead use organic methods. If you are unsure about their practices, ask them!
- More variety – Farmers’ markets are full of produce you don’t normally see in the store, such as: red carrots, watermelon radishes, green garlic, quail eggs, and more!
- Lower cost – By going straight to the source and getting your produce from the farmer, you are able to save money on your produce.