Regular physical activity, such as walking, is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Balancing exercise with the right amount of food is a tried and true way to maintain a healthy body. Going to farmers markets is a great way to combine physical activity and healthy eating while enjoying the outdoors and supporting local farmers.
Why shop at the farmers market?
The foods available at the market are often picked less than 24 hours before you buy them. This means the fruits and vegetables you are buying are at the peak of freshness.
At the farmers market you may come across a new fruit or vegetable you are unfamiliar with. The farmer that grew and harvested this unique food is right there and usually willing to give advice on how to store, prepare, and enjoy their produce. If you are someone who is curious about farming practices, talking to the producer is also a great way to learn about how your food is grown. Nebraska has many farmers markets available as well as many locations outside of Nebraska.
What if you don't have a farmers market near you?
Look for roadside stands. They sell many of the same fresh, seasonal foods that farmers markets sell. How convenient it is to just pull the car over and shop!
More options for local produce:
- If you like the idea of buying fresh, local produce but find your week filling up fast there are other alternatives available to you. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and food cooperatives are two more ways you can support local farms and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables. CSAs allow consumers to purchases "shares" from a farmer. This helps to reduce some of the risk a producer has when planting crops. By selling shares to people in the community the farmer is partially protected from losses due to flooding, drought, or disease. The shares work like a subscription and consumers receive a box with a variety of produce in regular intervals during the growing season.
- A food cooperative may be another option in your area. A cooperative is a business owned and controlled by the people who use its services. Many food coops provide opportunities to enjoy local foods including fruits, vegetables, a variety of meats and even homemade products like soaps and crafts.
Try something new this summer, take a trip to the farmers market, enjoy the outdoors, and buy some fresh produce that supports your local farmer and a healthy lifestyle!
This newsletter has been peer-reviewed.