Farmers Markets: A Healthy Choice

Food from farmers markets can be more nutritious, tasty and affordable.

May 23rd, 2012

Farmers Markets: A Healthy Choice

Why go to farmers markets? Here are just four of the many reasons your should frequent your local farmers market.

Nutritious fare

Many vegetables start to lose their vibrancy and some of their nutrients during storage and transfer. One example is spinach. It loses half of its folic acid content after eight days when stored at 39 degrees Fahrenheit. Fresh produce, in other words, could give you double the nutrients.

While I wouldn’t trust just anyone with a stand in a farmers market, the vast majority of produce sold at farmers markets was picked shortly before the market. Crisp, darkest-of-dark greens, bright radishes, sweet strawberries and more are what greet us today. This lovely offering is sure to contain many nutrients for my growing family. 


Farmers markets can also be a great place to find pastured chicken eggs, 10 percent grass-fed beef, artisan cheese, and heritage pork. These high-quality products have a higher nutrient content in general (One example: Grass-fed beef contains up to four times the amount of vitamin E when compared to grain-fed cows) and are also better treated. 

While not all farmers use sustainable practices, the majority of small farmers use organic methods, though maybe not certified organic. That means my produce has less toxic pesticides — and this momma is all for that.

MORE FROM MNN: Hospitals Incorporate Farmers Markets Into Facilities

Glorious food

But even if you don’t care about nutrient quality, there is no beating fresh produce and food for flavor. If you just like to eat good food, the farmers market is the place for you. Nothing beats the flavor of fruits picked when ripe from the trees (and yes, tree-ripened fruit is also higher in nutrients), fresh greens, the superior flavor of pastured chicken, and the dark yolks from happy chickens.

If you simply want to eat good eats, buy as much as you can fresh, directly from local farmers. Your taste buds will thank you with each bite. Plus, when you start with such good ingredients, they are easy to cook because they need very little tweaking. A quick steam, a little roasting, or a few minutes on the grill is often sufficient for a beautiful feast.

Not only is the typical vegetable so very delicious from the farmers market, but you also can find a lot of other vegetables, cheeses and other food items that can be quite hard to find in stores. This makes it fun and delicious! Last week I came home with white Japanese turnips, a sweet root vegetable eaten raw. I also bought green garlic, which made a delicious soup. 

MORE FROM MNN: Living Microwave Free

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