What's so special about farmers' markets?

Farmers’ markets are one of my favorite parts of summer. 

I enjoy my local market in Reston. I love the sights, the smells and the fresh produce. It just feels so full of life! And when I bring my beautiful purchases home, it’s easy to compose meals bursting with health and flavor. You’ve heard the expression Eat the rainbow, encouraging us to include lots of colorful, antioxidant-rich foods in our diets? The farm market makes it easy. 

The produce is always as fresh as can be — maybe even harvested that same morning! It gets to us in hours, not days or weeks. I can taste the difference: it’s richer and more vibrant, more alive. I wrote a post a few weeks ago about the health benefits of eating foods that are in season, and there’s no better way to do that than by buying foods that are locally grown.

As a chiropractor, I focus on healing and supporting the bodies of my patients. But I like to think about ways we can heal and support our communities and our planet, too. 

Shopping at farmers’ markets is one way we can help. Think about it: when we shop at the supermarket, we’re buying food that has been shipped in from all across the country and the world. This can be very convenient, but it comes at a cost. The food (especially produce) isn’t always fresh, and getting it to the store takes a toll on the environment. It might have been driven hundreds or thousands of miles in a truck, for example. That’s a lot of gas!

Just as important, by shopping at a farmers’ market, we’re strengthening our community. We’re supporting farmers who are our neighbors, and we’re eating food in a way that nurtures the environment, rather than taxing it (especially if we buy organic!). For those of us who go frequently, the farmers’ market also quickly becomes a place to see friends and share in the excitement of the experience. 

I’m always so glad when I see little ones and teenagers at the farmers’ market.

If you have children, bring them! It can become as much a weekend tradition as a child’s soccer game. Farmers are often happy to offer samples to children (be sure to ask). There’s something special about having an ultra-fresh blueberry offered by the person who grew it. When you get home, you can engage children in the process of feeding the family. Even little ones can get up on a sturdy stool and help wash the lettuce for lunch. Slightly older children can responsibly learn knife skills. The whole family can help prepare lunch and dinner!

My advice: check out your local farmer's’ market this summer! :)