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Farmer's Market: 6 Reasons To Buy Locally Sourced Foods

Updated: Apr 7, 2023

When was the last time you experienced the joy of eating fresh fruit straight from the source?

locally sourced foods

Nothing tastes better than a ripe fruit harvested straight from a local farm. The feeling of locally sourced food can provide satisfaction and contentment.


As a health and wellness coach and functional nutrition expert, I aim to empower you with insights into what food choices are best for your body which may include providing you with knowledge about locally sourced foods.


Locally sourced food is about more than just the taste. It's also about the environment, community, and knowing where your food comes from.


Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of eating locally sourced food.


Farmer's Market: 6 Reasons To Buy Locally Sourced Foods

Here are six reasons why buying locally sourced foods is better than buying from large grocery stores or other mass retailers when you can:


1. Freshness and quality.

Freshness

Local food is fresher. It doesn't have to travel long distances to reach consumers. When harvested at its peak of ripeness, it has a higher nutritional content and a better flavor.


Compare two apples. One from the grocery store and one from your local farmers market. You will notice how much more flavorful local produce usually has compared to supermarket brands.


Quality

Another advantage of purchasing local food is the superior quality. It usually isn’t treated with chemicals or pesticides. Local farmers don’t need to worry about increasing shelf life for transportation or processing.


You can ask the person at the market, what if anything is used on the produce so you can be confident that your food is healthy, and free from harmful substances.


Moreover, local food is often grown in smaller quantities. It tends to be more flavorful and nutritious. By buying local food, you invest in your health and well-being.


fresh food

Be sure to wash all produce before consuming. Here are some general steps to clean your food:

  • Start with clean hands: Wash your hands with soap and water before handling food.

  • Rinse produce: Under running water, use a produce brush to remove dirt and debris if necessary.

  • Soak if needed: Some produce needs to soak in a water bowl (some add salt or vinegar) for a few minutes to loosen any dirt or grit.

  • Dry produce: Pat produce dry with a clean towel or use a salad spinner to remove excess water.

  • Handle meat and eggs safely: If you buy local, follow safe food handling practices.

  • Store properly: Store it in an appropriate place and temperature to ensure freshness and prevent spoilage.

It's essential to note that different types of produce may require different washing techniques.


2. Support for the local economy

Buying locally sourced food supports the local economy and small-scale, sustainable agriculture. This helps create jobs, stimulate economic growth, and preserve the environment.

support local economy

It's a win-win situation because you get fresh, healthy food while positively impacting the community.


I created a video on this topic if you prefer videos, which you can check out here:


3. It reduces your carbon footprint.

“The benefits of eating farm fresh foods extend beyond your dining room table and into your community. It supports local growers and businesses, and it means less energy is used in getting food from the farm to your table.” - Avis Richards, The Farmstand Favorites Cookbook.


If you buy local, it impacts the environment by reducing the carbon footprint of food transportation.


This encourages the growth of a more sustainable food system and protects the resources for coming generations.


4. Seasonality.

Buying seasonal fruit and vegetables will maximize the nutritional value of your diet. You'll get more vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.


If you haven't tasted a ripe, flavorful tomato or tart and sweet blueberry right off the vine or bush, then you've missed one of nature's most golden moments!


Also, consuming various local safe plants every week can help you fight allergies and maintain good gut health.


Your gut health impacts your well-being, and there are many ways to promote good gut health for a better quality of life.


5. Community connection.

“When I buy strawberries down the road from the Cooley family, those funds stay in my local economy. This helps the farmer’s family thrive and supports their employees and their ability to maintain their acres as a working farm. I benefit by getting the most delicious strawberries every spring and the enjoyment of the fresh air and scenic drive on the visit to their farm.” – Keith Snow, The Harvest Eating Cookbook.


When you buy locally grown food, you're helping to build strong ties between farmers and consumers. It helps to create a place where people feel connected to each other, their environment, and their food.


Buying locally also provides opportunities for learning about local food traditions and cooking techniques.


6. Transparency and accountability.

fresh from the farm

A local farmers market is a great way to get fresh, high-quality ingredients produced with respect for the environment and animals involved in production.


You know where your food comes from by asking how it's grown or raised and even getting to know the farmers personally. This transparency makes for a more accountable process.


FAQs about locally sourced food

What are the local food sources?

Buying locally is defined as something within 100 miles of where you live or where the restaurant purchases produce. It refers to any place or person that provides fresh, locally grown, or produced food for consumers in a particular region.


These may include Farmers' markets, Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) Programs, Farm-to-table restaurants, Local grocery stores, and Food hubs. These businesses prioritize seasonal produce and often support small-scale farmers and producers—which helps to boost the local economy and promote sustainable agriculture.


Why is locally sourced food more sustainable?

Local foods might not be as convenient as grocery stores, but they're definitely worth it. When you pick a piece of fruit, vegetables, or whatever produce, within 24 hours, it slowly starts to lose its nutrient density.


It usually also means fewer pesticides and less water needed because of the shorter growing season. Finally, since local farms don't need as much fuel to get their produce across the country or around town, they're less harmful for our environment.


How do you know if food is local?

The best way to know if food is to ask the seller or the retailer where the food comes from. This can help consumers make more informed choices about what they eat and where their food comes from.


Locally sourced food is usually labeled with a sticker or tag that says "local." Labeling food products can provide important information to consumers.


Is all local food organic?

Not all local food is organic, but many farmers and producers use organic or sustainable growing practices. Ask the seller or retailer about their growing methods if you are looking for organic food.


Generally, food produced close to home is more nutritious because it takes less time and energy to get from the farm to your table. The more you know about your food and its origin, the easier it will be for you to make healthy daily choices.


Is local food more expensive than non-local food?

The cost of local food can vary depending on the product and the region. While local food may be more expensive than non-local food, buying in season and directly from farmers can often be cost-effective.


Additionally, the benefits of supporting local farmers and the local economy may outweigh the cost difference.


What’s next?

I would like to acknowledge, not everyone may have access to the funds or farmers to purchase locally, I understand it is a privilege to have a farmers market nearby and money to spend there.


However, if you do have the opportunity to stop by a farmers market, stop and think about the impact your purchase could have on your community. Not only do local farmers benefit from selling their goods to local consumers, but you also benefit from buying them!


A diet abundant in fresh whole foods can support your immune system and overall health. Overall, incorporating local foods into your diet can be a simple and practical way to support your health and well-being.


So next time you need some fresh produce, dairy products or protein head over to your local farmer's market for an environmentally friendly shopping experience!

 

About the Author

Alexa Hanshaw


Alexa Hanshaw is a health and stress management coach who helps women be the CEO of their stress. She empowers her clients to push past the confusion of the health and wellness industry to create lifestyle habits that bring them energy and work with their bodies instead of against it.


Join her free Facebook group, Be the CEO of Your Stress, and follow her on Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube for quick, easy & healthy tips on stress, health, fitness, nutrition, sleep, and how to stay mindful!




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