Eat Well at the Farmers Market
Before I began to “Eat Well” and discovered the power of real food to heal my body, I really was not very picky about where my food came from. I believed, mistakenly, that our government, particularly the FDA only allowed the sale of food that was truly food and good for your body. I believed TV, magazine and billboard advertisements about food and their benefits but mainly I ate what sounded good or tasted good with no interest or curiosity about it’s value for my health, where it came from or what it was made out of.
Six years ago, after my first detox, I realized the power of real food on my health. After a 21-day vegan diet my body was completely healed of Type 2 diabetes, IBS, eczema, plantar fasciitis and more. Feeling fantastic, I decided to continue to eat mostly veggies and fruits and began to be aware of how processed foods affected my body in a negative way. I’ve increasingly become more aware and more committed to knowing where my food comes from , who produces it and what is in it, this curiosity is what draws me to places like the local farmers market.
When I go to the super market, of course we all have to, I see brightly colored boxes and people rushing around, completely unengaged in the experience of selecting foods that will help or hinder their health. You see people running into one another, grabbing food off the shelves, filling up on foods that only have to be opened to be consumed. Many of the foods on the shelves at the grocery store are made of mostly unnatural ingredients developed by scientists to create a cocaine-like reaction in the brain, which brings you back to purchase it again. It’s all about the money, not about your nutrition or health.
Contrast the local farmers market where you will be able to meet and even develop relationships with the people who create, grow and make the food they sell. You can ask them about the health benefits, you can even taste their wares before you buy!
At the local farmers market the food looks amazing, it is fresh and full of wonderful nutrition. You can spend a relaxing morning browsing all the vendors or you can choose a farmer to support and become a part of their Consumer Supported Agriculture program, CSA. Joining a CSA is a wonderful benefit to you and the community. CSA members purchase shares of a farm and in return receive a weekly share of produce to enjoy and nourish their family.
A CSA box requires an initial large investment of several hundred dollars, but when you pick up your weekly food during the growing season it is already paid for. Imagine walking into the supermarket having your food ready for you and walking in without paying! If you don’t have a large amount of money to invest in a CSA or if you don’t think you would use all the food at once you can purchase just want you will use for the week from local farmers.
You will also find a variety of home made breads and treats, home canned jellies and jams, locally grown animal products such as beef, lamb, chicken, eggs, cheeses, etc. Many vendors have samples so you can try before you buy!
You can also learn which vendors and farmers provide superior products through awards and talking to others at the market about who they buy or don’t buy from and why.
I love wandering through the market to learn from vendors and see some unusual sites such as this bee display. The bee keeper was excited to share his knowledge with us. A great place to bring your kids. Just be sure and tell them what you expect of them while there, such as stay right beside mom and dad, and let them choose some of the foods that appeal to them with the requirement that they give them a try at home!
I love the variety of local vendors at the market and also the performers. You will see a wonderful variety of musical styles from all generations at the farmers market, allow enough time to sit, munch on a treat you purchased there and enjoy the music!
As local farmers markets grow in popularity you will want to be sure to arrive early to get what you like from your preferred vendors. You might want to go early to avoid the heat as well. Check the paper or website for the times the market is open. Don’t forget to bring shopping bags, no plastic bags here! Many vendors have food you can eat on site such as coffee and fresh baked goods. Sometimes you will find a health food store offering food to eat and some restaurants as well.
One last thing to leave you with is the quality and quantity you will get from local vendors. Check out this organic basil from Delvin Farms at the Franklin market, wow, beautiful and alot of it for just $1.99. Compare the little box you get at the grocery for $2-$3, just a few sprigs that don’t last very long! Make the local farmers market part of your weekend routine! Get real food from real people!
Plan your day so you can bring your food home immediately or be sure to bring a cooler with ice to keep your beautiful foods fresh until you get home. Remember to bring your own bags and allow enough time in your schedule to store the food properly when you arrive home. I like to wash it immediately and store in Hefty Fresh Extend green bags. Food stored in these bags will hast 2-3 times longer than food stored in other containers. I like to wash, dry and wrap greens and herbs in paper towels and store in the Hefty Fresh Extend Green bags. I get mine at Kroger, enjoy!
For more information on storing and preparing real foods, and a healthy and affordable veggie wash, be sure and get a copy of our book Wonderfully Well, available on our website, www.thewellnessworkshop.org.