Ever driven past that farmer’s market on the corner on the way to the grocery store? Farmer’s markets offer many great benefits not only nutritionally, but also environmentally. Check out these 5 benefits of shopping at a farmer’s market:

Fresh produce: Brought directly to you from the field, these fruits and vegetables are among the freshest you can find. Fresh produce ripens naturally in the field before being brought to the market. Sometimes, produce that is sold in stores can be bruised or damaged, which are results from it having been shipped all over the United States. While some produce you find at a farmers market might be a little deformed due to natural growth, it is often of better quality.

Enjoy seasonal produce: The produce available to buy at farmers markets depends on the season This means that the produce at farmers markets is usually at its peak, when it is the freshest and best quality. If you are looking for sweet corn in the winter, odds are it will not be the best quality, since it is out of season. Plus, many of the products sold at farmers markets are also organic and non-GMO!

Help protect the environment: Shipping produce all over the United States uses natural resources that contribute to pollution. It also requires a lot of packaging materials which, in turn, create more trash needing to be disposed of. Foods that are sold at farmers markets require less packaging due to short shipping distances. Plus, they are usually grown in eco-friendly environments, as organic farming doesn’t use synthetic fertilizers and pesticides – that’s good for you and for the Earth!

Know where your food comes from: Farmers markets allow you to shop for produce locally. Rather than buy produce that has been shipped from all over, you can buy locally-grown produce sold at farmers markets, probably grown by your neighbor! Plus, you can chat with the sellers about the growing, harvesting, and transportation process. Additionally, you can find out exactly how and where the food is grown and what chemicals, if any, they used.

Help your community: Shopping locally helps support your community, especially family-owned farms. Farmers markets also give you more access to healthy, fresh, local, and delicious food, while simultaneously supporting local businesses in your area!

Next time you need produce, head to a local farmers market for friendly faces and fresh produce. Meet a friend for productive some outdoor time, or bring the kids along to get them interested in nutrition, fruits and veggies, and cooking!

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