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Organic and Eco-Friendly Food Choices in Farmers’ Markets

farmers marketDown on the farm, freshness and variety may be nearer than you think. Farmers’ markets are catching on all over the country, and new markets are popping up every year. The only way you can beat the freshness is by strapping on a green thumb and growing the produce yourself.

Eco-Friendly Market in a Bustling City

When you think of local weekend markets for fruits and vegetables, the image of a few makeshift tables with limited fare may come to mind, but times are changing fast.

Farmers’ markets now provide more variety and an eco-friendly approach to bringing the freshest and most savory produce to your table. Whether you opt for organically grown goods that lose the pesticides in favor of a cleaner and safer yield, or just like the idea of eating a salad for dinner that was picked fresh a few hours ago, the farmers’ market has something tasty to offer.

Better Products at Bargain Prices

You can leverage your shopping excursion into a great deal too. If you expand your culinary repertoire to include peaches, beans, squash, cabbage and other produce when it’s in season, you’ll be eating a more nutritionally balanced diet and taking advantage of a surplus of perishable products priced to move quickly. Local products incur lower fuel and storage costs too, and that’s good for the environment and your pocketbook.

Another unexpected advantage to buying locally is that it may increase your exposure to new varieties of the vegetables you already love. National chains buy in bulk and limit themselves to produce varieties that look good and travel well. These aren’t always the most flavorful fruits and vegetables available. When you buy from local growers, you have access to heirloom strains with subtle flavor and textural differences that can be a lot sweeter and more appetizing than what you’re used to. They might not be as pretty as their grocery store counterparts, but they can have a more intense flavor and better texture.

Vine Ripened Freshness

If these things aren’t enough to encourage you to take a stroll through your local farmers’ market, consider the idea of freshness itself. Most of the vegetables you buy through your neighborhood grocer where picked before they ripened. Those bright tomato red and green pepper colors you’re admiring are the result of forced ripening using ethylene gas, not the healthy, natural ripening process that relies on sunlight and time. For the best nutrition, texture and flavor, farm fresh products and not chemical sleight-of-hand is always superior.

The next time a crisp apple, juicy pear or some homemade stir fry sounds good, support your local economy, encourage eco-friendly practices and give your taste buds a treat by checking out a farmers’ market near you.

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