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June 09, 2014

Why You Should Shop at Your Local Farmer’s Market

Summer is just around the corner, which means many nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables that will help you feed your body right as you age are about to be in peak season. In addition to making outdoor activities like swimming, picnics, and hiking possible, summer can also transform a not-so-enjoyable chore into a fun, outdoor activity: grocery shopping. 

Thanks to the popularity of local farmer’s markets, even your weekly shopping trip doesn’t have to keep you indoors. However, spending more time outside isn’t the only reason you should shop at your local farmer’s market.

7 Reasons to Hit the Farmer’s Market This Weekend

  • It helps you know where your food is coming from. By the time the food in your grocery store reaches the shelves, it’s likely taken a long journey. When you shop at a farmer’s market, you can know exactly where the food you buy is coming from. Since farmers usually staff their own booths, you can ask any questions you might have about their growing process to feel even more confident about the choices you’re making.
  • It lets you see what is in season. Sure, your grocery store sells strawberries almost year-round, but you’ll find buying food that is in season makes a big difference in quality and taste. The farmers at your market will very recently harvested produce, so while the selection might not be as broad as your grocery store, the quality will likely be even better.
  • It can be good exercise. In addition to getting out and enjoying the outdoors, shopping at your local farmer’s market can be a good source of exercise, especially if your market covers a lot of ground. While you probably won’t get your heart rate up, you can get in some good movement.
  • It’s a great social activity. Ever feel like you don’t meet as many new people since you retired? Farmer’s markets tend to bring out the crowds, especially on the weekends, so they can be a great opportunity for socializing. Take a friend, chat with a vendor, or just enjoy mingling with the other shoppers.
  • It’s good for the environment. Getting your produce from a farmer’s market helps the environment by limiting the distance your food travels. Since farmer’s markets typically feature locally grown food, you’ll limit the miles your food travels, as well as other environmental factors, like packaging and preservatives. 
  • It can save you money. Though produce bought at a farmer’s market isn’t always less expensive than your standard grocery store option, you can save yourself money by only buying the amount you need, rather than a prepackaged surplus.
  • It can introduce you to new produce and products. Often, you can find unique fruits and vegetables or specialty products that might not be carried in the grocery store. From non-commercialized types of apples to white asparagus to pickled watermelon, you just might find your new favorite side dish.

So, what summer produce should you look for on your first trip to the market this season? On the fruit side, stock up on fresh berries to top off your cereals, yogurt, or just eat by the handful. Since summer is the season of grilling, go for vegetables that will compliment your cookout: corn on the cob, summer squash, or bell peppers. 

For more tips on how to eat well after 50, check out our guide “Feed Your Body Right: Nutritional Needs After 50.”



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