There are countless reasons to incorporate fresh produce into your daily diet. From the vitamins and nutrients fruits and vegetables provide to the disease fighting properties they contain, diets that are well-balanced with fresh produce help keep us healthy. However, when shopping for fruits and vegetables, it can be difficult to determine where to buy produce, what factors to consider, and whether the produce you’re buying is as healthy as it could be.
If you shop at your local franchise grocery store, you may often be confronted with the choice between purchasing organic or non-organic produce. Non-organic farms are where the majority of standard grocery store produce comes from. Non-organic farming techniques often use chemical fertilizers to promote plant growth, chemical herbicides to control weeds, and chemical pesticides to reduce pests. On the contrary, organic farmers use crop rotation practices, all natural fertilizers, and natural techniques, such as bringing in the proper animal life to control pests. One of the best places to find organic produce is at your local farmers market. Below we’ve outlined the top five reasons to shop locally at a farmers market:
- Freshness, taste and variety— food sold at local farmers markets is extremely fresh, usually picked within a few days before it is sold. Furthermore, produce that is in-season is easy to come by and oftentimes you can find varieties of produce at the farmer’s market that you can’t find elsewhere.
- Community— local farmers markets attract a wide variety of people from the community. They are a great place to meet new people that share an interest in healthy living. Meeting the farmers who grow your food is also a bonus.
- Environmental benefits— as we mentioned above, organic farmers value the land they grow on and often take measures to ensure its future prosperity. While not all farmers at the farmers market are organic growers, these local farmers usually own the land they grow on, and hence take an interest in its sustainability.
- Economic benefits— when you shop at local farmers markets you make investments both in your health and the local economy. Additionally, some of the produce can be cheaper than you’d find in the grocery store because the time and overhead of getting it to the selling point is reduced. The money you spend at farmers markets goes to the farmers themselves, who are able to reinvest in their farms to continue providing fresh produce at a reasonable cost.
- Educational benefits— if you ever have a question about produce, crops, weather, and which foods are in season, the farmers market is a great place to go. The farmers welcome questions from patrons about how their produce was grown (i.e. did they use organic techniques?), when it was picked, and can even provide cooking tips. Additionally, if you take your family along with you, it gives your kids a great opportunity to learn about produce and healthy eating. They may even want to pick out a few items of their own!
We hope this information gives you a great reason to check out your local farmers market. If you’re interested in locations, we’ve provided a few of them below:
1393 N. Highland Avenue
Saturdays from 8 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Peachtree Road Farmers Market
Cathedral of St. Philip
2744 Peachtree Road, NW
Saturdays April 10, 2010 – December 18, 2010
April-August: 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
September-December: 9 a.m.- 12:30 p.m.
Decatur Farmers Market
163 Clairemont Ave.
Summer 4 p.m.-7 p.m. (March-October)
Winter 3 p.m.-6 p.m. (November-February)
Saturdays Year-Round 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
For more organic shopping opportunities, visit the Organic Directory from Georgia Organics.