Five Reasons to Shop Your Local Farmers Market
For many people in southwest Michigan, a new season means a break from the cold weather, more time outdoors and eating great food from farmers markets and roadside stands.
There are many nutritional advantages to eating locally-grown produce and meats like grass-fed beef and free-range chicken. “Shopping at a local farmers market is a great way to get your favorite fruits and veggies, and also explore unique seasonal options that you haven’t tried before,” explains Rhonda Toner-Treu, registered dietitian and manager of nutrition services at Bronson LakeView Hospital. “I encourage my patients to purchase locally-grown produce as often as possible because of the health benefits.”
Bronson’s food and nutrition experts offer the following five reasons why purchasing food from your local farmers market or neighbor’s farm stand is good idea.
- Eat more flavorful meals.
As there is less time spent in transit from the farm to your table, local food tastes better and loses fewer nutrients over time. Not to mention it lasts longer and won’t spoil as quickly in your refrigerator!
- Eat cleaner, safer food.
Often, foods from the grocery store have added pesticides and antibiotics to help them grown faster and last longer. Plus the time spent in factories and on trucks can put foods in contact with contaminants and bacteria that can make you sick.
- Experiment with new foods.
Produce at farmers markets is grown seasonally. This means you can find a variety of fruits and vegetables that you might not normally try. Open up your taste buds and try something new!
- Support your local economy.
Buying local means you are supporting farmers who live near you and are keeping money within your own community. Not to mention it helps preserve farm land and keeps it from being over developed.
- Take in the full experience.
There is comfort in knowing where your food comes from. Shopping at your local farmers market gives you the opportunity to meet the people who are producing the food you put on your table each day. Local farmers are excited to talk with you and help you find new ways to prepare meals with fresh, healthy food.
If you’d like to learn more about cooking healthy meals, Bronson dietitians, as well as the nutrition educators at Bronson Wellness Center in South Haven, are available to help you learn new ways to incorporate healthy, local foods into your diet. Your primary care provider is also a good resource and can provide additional educational material for eating healthy. To find a Bronson dietitian or primary care provider, visit bronsonhealth.com.