Friday, March 2, 2012

10 Reasons Why Farmers’ Markets are Better than Supermarkets

Summer and fall are a time when farmers’ markets are operating in most cities and towns. A good farmers’ market makes for better shopping experiences, and usually better eating for your family. Here are 10 reasons why that is so.

1. Always Fresh. Foods purchased at farmers’ markets are fresh, having been picked on the day you buy them or a couple of days before, at most. Supermarket foods, even when marketed as fresh, are usually picked and processed, stored, and then spend days or weeks getting to the supermarket where you buy them.
2. Local Variety. A farmers’ market is likely to have varieties of fruits and vegetables native to your area that you would never find in a supermarket. This is due to difficulties in storage and transportation for some varieties, and because some do not lend themselves to large scale production.
3. Flavor. Since the foods you find in farmers’ markets are fresh-picked and ripened in the field or garden, the flavors tend be much more intense and varied than those you find in supermarket foods.
4. Nutrition. Because foods sold in farmer’s markets are fresh and have ripened in their natural state, the nutritional values tend to be higher than those of processed or artificially ripened foods.
5. Local Economic Impact. When you buy your vegetables, fruits, poultry and meat at a farmer’s market, you know that the money you spend is going to a local farmer or gardener. This helps your local economy to remain healthy and strong.
6. Energy Independence. We often hear our politicians speak of weaning the nation from dependence on foreign energy sources. By buying your food at a farmers’ market, you are saving the energy that it takes to bring non-local foods from faraway locations.
7. Less Packaging. The fact that most of the food that you will buy at a farmers’ market is not processed and packaged, there will be less waste to end up in the local landfill. Referring back to number 6, there will also be less energy used in order to create packaging for the food you buy.
8. The Great Outdoors. Most farmers’ markets, though sheltered, are located outside. Shopping for your food outside helps you feel more connected to nature and to the environment in which your food is grown. It’s also a more pleasant experience to smell outdoor air and the produce around you than it is to breathe the cooled and conditioned air of a supermarket.
9. Socialization. There is something about a farmers’ market that encourages conversation. You tend to meet up with neighbors while shopping, and you probably know the producers from whom you are buying your food. A well attended farmers’ market helps to build a strong community.
10. No Bad Recorded Music! This may be the most important advantage of farmers’ markets over supermarkets. Who picks the endless loops of really bad music that play over and over in supermarkets everywhere? Is it a requirement that supermarket music be universally bland and awful so that all can be equally annoyed? The few times that I’ve been in a farmers’ market where music was playing, it was performed live by local artists, and was at least interesting to hear, even if it’s not of the highest quality.
So there we are; 10 reasons to take your family down to the local farmers’ market while the season is ripe. You’ll enjoy the experience, love the food, and will likely be eating more nutrient-rich food than you otherwise would.
(by Jessica Jackson, summer nanny jobs)

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