The ben­e­fits of shop­ping farm­ers mar­kets

The Trentonian (Trenton, NJ) - - LIVING -

Farm­ers mar­kets have grown in pop­u­lar­ity in re­cent years. Nowa­days, con­sumers in­ter­ested in farm­ers mar­kets can likely find one near their homes whether those homes are in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, the sub­urbs or bustling cities.

Peo­ple who have never be­fore shopped farm­ers mar­kets may be cu­ri­ous as to why many peo­ple find them so ap­peal­ing. The fol­low­ing are a hand­ful of ben­e­fits of shop­ping farm­ers mar­kets that might turn mar­ket novices into fullfledged devo­tees.

• Fresh­ness: Many peo­ple visit farm­ers mar­kets be­cause the fruits and veg­eta­bles sold at such mar­kets seem to taste more fresh than those sold at chain gro­cery stores. Peo­ple are not mis­taken, as the pro­duce avail­able at farm­ers mar­kets of­ten comes from lo­cal farms, mean­ing there’s no long-dis­tance ship­ping nec­es­sary. Lo­cally sourced foods need not be frozen en route to the mar­ket, mean­ing foods pur­chased there tend to taste es­pe­cially fresh.

• In-sea­son foods: Some gro­cery stores may sell fruits and veg­eta­bles even when those foods are out of sea­son. Farm­ers mar­kets only sell in-sea­son fruits and veg­eta­bles. To grow fruits and veg­eta­bles out-of-sea­son, farm­ers may need to rely on chem­i­cals or other un­nat­u­ral meth­ods. No such means are nec­es­sary when farm­ers stick to grow­ing foods in-sea­son.

• En­vi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits: Ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Ur­ban Ed­u­ca­tion about Sus­tain­able Agri­cul­ture, food in the United States trav­els an av­er­age of 1,500 miles to get to con­sumers’ plates. Such jour­neys burn nat­u­ral re­sources, pol­lute the air and pro­duce siz­able amounts of trash that ul­ti­mately ends up in land­fills and/or the world’s oceans. Be­cause food sold at farm­ers mar­kets is lo­cally sourced, con­sid­er­ably fewer nat­u­ral re­sources are nec­es­sary to trans­port the food from farm to ta­ble, and the rel­a­tively short dis­tances the food trav­els trans­lates to less air pol­lu­tion.

• Bio­di­ver­sity: Many farm­ers mar­ket shop­pers find unique foods not read­ily avail­able at their lo­cal gro­cery stores. This is not only a great way to dis­cover new and de­li­cious foods, but also a way to pro­mote bio­di­ver­sity.

• Hor­mone-free an­i­mal prod­ucts: Farm­ers mar­kets do not ex­clu­sively sell fruits and veg­eta­bles. Many farm­ers mar­kets also are great places to find meats, cheeses and eggs. An­i­mal prod­ucts sold at farm­ers mar­kets are typ­i­cally an­tibi­otic- and hor­mone-free, which is both more hu­mane to the an­i­mals and health­ier than an­i­mal prod­ucts pro­duced with hor­mones or an­tibi­otics.

Farm­ers mar­kets are more accessible than ever, and the ben­e­fits to shop­ping such mar­kets are end­less.

COUR­TESY OF METRO CRE­ATIVE

Peo­ple who have never be­fore shopped farm­ers mar­kets may be cu­ri­ous as to why many peo­ple find them so ap­peal­ing.

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