As registered dietitians and advocates of “real food,” we love to eat real, unprocessed food.
In simplest terms, real food is food you can imagine growing in nature; something our great-grandparents would recognize. This is why we love shopping at our local farmer’s markets.
When we purchase food from the farmers market, we are able to support the hardworking individuals that grow and farm our food and enjoy the fruits of their labor in our very own kitchens. The smell of basil picked just that morning, the deep orange yolk of an egg collected a few hours earlier, or the satisfying crunch of apples picked in season are just a few of the simple pleasures we enjoy from shopping at the farmer’s market.
Why else should you shop at your local farmers market? Here are five reasons:
1.It’s better for you and the environment. When you choose to eat foods picked and purchased at the peak of season, you are selecting foods with their maximum nutrient content. Not only that, transporting food long distances after harvest uses precious natural resources, contributing to air pollution and global warming . In fact, according to the Council on the Environment of New York, it can take up to 435 fossil fuels to transport 5 calories of strawberries from California to New York. By buying locally and eating seasonally, you’re conserving your own health and conserving the health of Mother Earth.
2. It tastes better. Taste continues to be the #1 factor driving American food choices. Nothing quite beats the flavor of tomatoes still warm from the vine, carrots recently pulled from the soil, or peas picked just that morning.
3. It encourages variety. It’s fun to see the first batch of raspberries in the summer and the variety of pears available in the fall. By eating with what’s available, you provide your body with a variety of nutrients and your taste buds with a variety of flavors.
4. It supports your local community. Keeping money in your local community encourages your community to thrive. When you make the choice to buy locally, you’re supporting your neighbors, friends, acquaintances and the local economy in the general. Plus, food just tastes better when it has a story; and connecting with the hard working farmers that grew your food is the best way to get that story.
5. It’s fun. Going to the farmer’s market is still one of our favorite things to do. You usually run into people you know, have the opportunity to sample what’s in season, and can sit on the curb and enjoy the company of your best friend while eating some really good food. You can also find with specialty items you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get, including freshly baked scones, artisanal cheeses, hazelnut flour, and homemade granola.
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McKenzie Hall and Lisa Dixon are registered dietitians and authors of the Nourish RDs Blog, on a mission to inspire others to eat real food, love their bodies, and laugh a lot! Their food philosophy is simple: eatreal food, and share it with those you love.