As summer has come to a close and the vibrant hues of the autumn leaves are in full swing, we know winter is around the corner. Fall marks an enjoyable season for many people with the holidays approaching to give way to the New Year. For those with health and good food on our agenda this fall, we are reminded that it means only a few weekends remain for farmers’ markets. Once winter arrives, the fresh, local goods from farms will not be as easily accessible, such as right down the street every Saturday morning.
Farmers’ markets are the one time we can truly return to our roots as hunter-gatherers and head out to find the most delicious and healthy foods, all while supporting our local farmers and food sources. This support opens the door to future farmers’ markets and the ability of locally grown, healthy food sources to become more and more available.
It only seemed right for this week’s health post to discuss the top 10 reasons to visit your local farmers’ market this weekend…
1. Find high-quality beef that you often cannot find at grocery stores
They are one of the easiest places to find ethically raised 100% grass-fed beef, which is higher in healthy omega-3 fats, cancer-fighting conjugated linoleic acid, and a multitude of other vitamins and minerals.
2. Buy the best quality vegetables possible
They often have some of the freshest vegetables available, second only to your own garden. Sweetening the deal is the fact that they are often organic or grown without pesticides. These vegetables often have a wider range of vitamins and nutrients1,2 than conventionally grown vegetables. Organic vegetables have higher amounts of antioxidants and fewer toxic chemicals.3
3. Make Friends
As you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, wouldn’t it be nice to meet some new healthy and like-minded friends? As tongue-in-cheek as this may sound, it is difficult to find friends and colleagues with habits that motivate us to be healthier and better people. Go to your local farmers’ market to be surrounded by these people.
4. Eat Seasonally
Farmers’ markets are the best way to find and eat seasonal foods, something humans have been doing for hundreds of thousands of years. It is amazing how available vegetables often parallel our activity levels and lifestyle throughout the year. As most of us buckle down for the winter, have you ever wondered why all those carbohydrate-rich fruits become sparse during the winter?
5. Motivate Yourself to Get Back into the Kitchen
Organic, well-sourced, and non-preserved foods from farmers markets are a great way to get you back into the kitchen, as these foods must be cooked and prepared.
6. Meet Farmers!
You can meet the person who grew or raised your food and even some of their family members. Oftentimes these farms have been passed down for generations and the owners are passionate about their trade and the quality of their products. This passion is not seen with mass-produced vegetables that are shipped all over the world.
You will likely find vegetables that you did not even know existed, like striped beets.
8. Form Healthy Habits
Many people spend their weekends consumed with rest and relaxation. While there is nothing wrong with some R&R, farmers’ markets are great ways to get out of the house and spend some time being mentally engaged with a healthy and fulfilling habit while spending downtime with loved ones. Let’s be honest, with the Steelers looking pretty bad this year, the football season is going to be a bust anyways.
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1. Misra S, Maikhuri RK, Kala CP, Rao KS, Saxena KG. Wild leafy vegetables: a study of their subsistence dietetic support to the inhabitants of Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, India. J. Ethnobiol. Ethnomed. 2008;4(1):15. doi:10.1186/1746-4269-4-15.
2. Bharucha Z, Pretty J. The roles and values of wild foods in agricultural systems. Philos. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B. Biol. Sci. 2010;365(1554):2913-26. doi:10.1098/rstb.2010.0123.
3. Barański M, Srednicka-Tober D, Volakakis N, et al. Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. Br. J. Nutr. 2014;112(05):1-18. doi:10.1017/S0007114514001366.
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