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Friday, May 23, 2014

Why Everyone Should Shop At Their Local Farmers Market

I absolutely LOVE going to the farmers market every weekend. It has made shopping for food a fun and social experience. There are so many benefits to getting your fresh produce from your local farmers market, and I am going to give a few reasons why you should!

--If you don't want to read anything, then I only ask ONE THING! PLEASE PLEASE, go watch Food, Inc! Now! Go! Seriously, if you haven't seen it, I urge you to. You will be shopping local with pride after you learn about how rough our hard working farmers have it.

1. Affordable: Ok, you are probably laughing at me with this one. I once was against going because I thought it would be a huge expense. It isn't! Last week I bought a large box of blackberries for $3! You just can't beat that. Eggs are $5 for a dozen, which is less than the organic, free range eggs I buy at HEB or Whole Foods. Plus they taste better, and I know and trust the vendors I buy from. Now, I will say that meat is pricey. But that is because these animals are taken care of, treated humanly, and not pumped full of hormones. (Did you know Europe has banned hormone raised meat, so why haven't we?) Meat is more of a treat on our budget, which is fine with me. Remember, pay for your health now, so you aren't paying for it with medication and hospital bills later!

2. Organic and Non GMO: Now, to be USDA certified takes time and money. You will see some vendors who have this certification, and some who don't. Just because they do not have the USDA stamp, does not necessarily mean they do not practice organic methods. All you have to do is ask. You will usually find that the people are very friendly and happy to discuss it with you. It is their passion and livelihood! I have gotten to a point where I have my "regular" vendors that I trust to provide me with the very best product possible.

3. Eating Seasonally: Other than the fact that it is simply nature and the way things are meant to be, eating seasonally is actually good for you! It means the food is picked at its peak freshness and highest level in nutrients. It means your kids are getting a wide variety of foods that will help teach them healthy eating habits. It means your produce was grown in nature and not covered in waxes, chemicals and preservatives.

4. Good for the Environment: Many supermarkets get their produce from hundreds and thousands of miles away. This uses up fuel for shipping. Smaller farms also produce less environmental waste (chemicals, pesticides). Also, being sold outside eliminates the need for electricity.

5. Trustworthy: Buying from a supermarket, you will never know how well you can trust your product. When you get to know your local farmer, you learn all about your food and how its handled. I love following my bee vendor, Gretchens Bee Ranch. They post every day on Instagram about what they do and how passionate they are for their bees. It has made me come to appreciate all the hard work they put in to my favorite honey. And I've learned all about bees. Pretty fascinating stuff.

6. Delicious Eats and Drinks: If your farmers market is as awesome as mine, there could be some amazing foods to eat like crepes, pies, bread, chocolate, empanadas, olive oil, coffee, nuts, salsa, and more. I could eat my way through the market if I'm not careful. It's like a weekly food party. How can you say no to that?

                                                                                           (Pearl Brewery Farmers Market)

One last time, I want to encourage everyone to watch Food, Inc if you have yet to. It was what opened my eyes and gave me the passion and drive for a healthier and more natural life style. Also, go check out your local farmers market, make some new friends, try the amazing food. I promise you will be hooked for life!

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