Farmers' markets are one of my favourite ways to spend a Saturday morning connecting with local farmers, the community and buying delicious food to stock my fridge.
If you haven't visited one, then I highly recommend it! I spoke about this exact topic today on the Morning Show. If you prefer to watch the video instead of reading below, then have a look here.
Here are some of the benefits of shopping at your local market:
Food typically travels an average of 2500 kms to get to your plate! Travel is not a very joyous thing to do to food. Shopping local is better for the earth as it greatly reduces the energy and resources necessary to transport food. Plus when food travels there is likely more packaging needed which results in more trash.
Once food is harvested it begins to lose nutrients. Those cucumbers picked five weeks ago and 2,000 kms away will have significantly LESS nutrients than a cucumber harvested on Thursday from 50kms away that you may find at your local market. In fact, food can lose 50% or more of its nutrients during shipping and sitting on a store shelf for days, sometimes weeks before it ends up in your fridge. Shopping at a farmers market will ensure you are getting the most nutrient-dense food. (With the exception of flash frozen in grocery stores -- this can be just as nutrient-dense as freshly picked in some cases).
You will find the freshest and tastiest produce at farmers markets. Food that is picked when it's ripe is tastier.
Shopping at a farmers market helps you to connect with mama earth. I love my summer strawberries, August tomatoes and winter squash in the fall, just perfect for a warm soup. You will find your recipes end up being more seasonal too -- again, freshest and most nutrient-dense food going into your body!
I personally find that shopping at a farmers market is such a pleasurable experience. On the other hand, shopping indoors in a big box grocery store feels more like a chore.
If you want to check out my tips for making it the most joyous experience, check out my post I wrote last year on this very topic: Top 10 Farmer's Market Shopping Tips.