While heading out to the supermarket for your produce is usually the more convenient option, taking advantage of local farmers markets has it’s benefits as well. Not only is this method of shopping for fruits and veggies more fun (think: a beautiful summers day, the sun on your shoulders, casually browsing the markets vendors), it also has it’s nutritional advantages. Check out the following reasons to buy your food locally:
1. It’s Fun and Personal. Not only is farmer’s market shopping an enjoyable Saturday morning activity, it also makes the experience of shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables more personal to your kids. Encourage them to talk with the farmers/vendors and ask any questions they may have. What a great learning opportunity for your little ones! Meeting the people who grew their eggplant or zucchini might make those picky eaters a little more excited about trying something new!
2. Affordability. By cutting out the middleman (the large grocery store chain), you can often save big. As an added bonus, many small farms actually use organic farming practices, but because they haven’t gone through the certification process with the USDA, their prices may not reflect those expensive supermarket price tags. Of course, if you have any questions about how a specific vendors food is grown, make sure to ask!
3. Nutrient Density. The nutrients in fruits and vegetables begin to decline the moment they’re harvested. Having said that, it’s no question that produce grown locally is going to be higher in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than those that have had to travel across the country (or world) to be sold at your grocery store. That’s not to say that produce found at your supermarket is void of nutrients, but this bit of information is something to keep in mind!
4. Like a Kid in a Candy Store. Make this experience even more exciting by letting your kids each pick out one new food he or she wants to try. At the supermarket, your children might be distracted by the neon colored candy and the sugar filled cereal with familiar cartoon characters on the box. Allowing your child to practice making independent food choices in environments where healthy options are more abundant will help prepare them to make healthy choices in the grocery store, too!
Mark your calendar to take a trip to your nearby farmers market this weekend! Show us your local finds on our Facebook page!