August 21, 2015 Community, Health No Comments

Summer Lovin’!

I have been loving summer for all the amazing finds at my local Farmers’ Market. So far this year, there have been some good ones… purple greens beans, kohlrabi, purple carrots, edible flowers and pool ball squash. Every Saturday, I spend $20 and have TOO many vegetables for the week. It’s awesome.

To make sure I provided the most accurate information on this topic, I interviewed the Owner/ Manager of the Herkimer Farmers’ Market, Cat Macera. Cat is very passionate about buying local foods.

The main question to be answered is… Why should you shop at your local Farmers Market? Cat told me, “There are several reasons, but let’s start with the most important: investing in yourself. We all work so hard for our money, we deserve and have earned the right to have the best available to us.”

Here are some other reasons:

  • The fruits and vegetables are “fresher”. The “trip” from your farmer to your table is shorter. Cat agreed, “When you buy fresh at a farmers market, most likely that item was picked within the last 8 hours!”
  • Fresher means that the produce is more nutrient dense. “Talk about fresh and nutrient dense- nothing processed about it. Most items at grocers are picked premature, which means they are never fully allowed to be enriched with flavor.”
  • Fresher means tastier. “At the market, they are so full of flavor; I often hear this statement… Boy those tomatoes, onions whatever, were so awesome, I haven’t tasted anything like that in years!”
  • You are supporting your local economy. Cat educated me that, “The social-economic impact is incredible! 70% of every dollar spent at your local Farmers’ Market stays local. Farmers don’t travel, so they don’t spend money anywhere but local (of course there are exceptions). So, if we all invested $20 a week shopping at a farmers market, you could cut your tax base by 40%. On average families spend about $150 a week on groceries. Can you imagine the impact if we all spent half of that at a farmers market?”
  • You can find a wide diversity of fruits and vegetables. Hello… Kohlrabi?! Need I say more?
  • Fruit and vegetables are more affordable. During peak season, farmer’s market prices are less expensive than the grocery store prices. Cat added, “At the market, the produce is so full of flavor, because at a market you are eating truly seasonal items.”
  • You know where your food is grown and you allow your farmer to be able to continue to farm.
  • It’s a nice community event. I always see people I know. Then again, that happens everywhere I go. More importantly I am getting to know my farmers! I like them.
  • You are supporting a more “green” environment and leaving a much smaller carbon footprint. Some food travels anywhere from 1500 – 2400 miles to reach your plate.

So there you have it- good reasons to shop your local Farmers’ Market. If you missed the summer treats, do not fear, most Farmer’s Markets stay running right through most of October. I will end with this… ­Cat’s words of wisdom: “Investing in yourself has a ripple effect…yourself, community, neighbors investing in themselves, in turn investing in community, at market investing in you…each person casts a ripple, expanding a circle.”

Written by Crystal Hein