In Honor of New Years –
Why “Resolve” to shop the Farmers Markets?
Over the past couple of years there have been plenty of “Top Ten” articles published on why you should support/shop at Farmers Markets (vs major chain grocery stores), and we must admit they make a pretty good case. After scouring all of these, and adding a couple of our own, here’s our low-down on the Top Ten reasons why we think you should make the Markets a weekly pit stop (AKA our “Ode to Farmers Markets”):
1. Taste Real Flavors
The Produce you buy at the Farmers Market is the freshest and tastiest available. Fruits and Vegetables are allowed to ripen fully in the field and are brought directly to you—no premature picking, long-distance shipping, no gassing to simulate the ripening process, no sitting for weeks in storage! When we say freshly foraged, we mean business – this food is as real as it gets – we put the fresh in farmfresh.
2. Enjoy the Season
A big part of the Intuitive Forager’s message (and her actual “foraging”) is based on the natural Seasonal process of growth, and the food you get at the Farmers Market is in-season – which means it is freshly foraged, at its peak deliciousness, and reflecting its truest flavors. Shopping and cooking from the Farmers Market helps you to reconnect with the cycles of nature in our region. As you look forward to asparagus in spring, savor sweet corn in summer, or bake pumpkins in autumn, you reconnect with the earth, the weather, and the turning of the year.
3. Support Family Farmers
Family farmers need your support! Now that large agribusiness dominates food production in the U.S., small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace – despite the fact that your small family farms typically practice much more ethical and sustainable farming practices. Buying directly from farmers at the Markets gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy.
4. Protect the Environment
Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate. That’s right – 1,500 miles! All this shipping uses large amounts of natural resources (especially fossil fuels), contributes to pollution, and creates trash with extra packaging. Conventional agriculture also uses many more resources than sustainable agriculture and pollutes water, land, and air with toxic agricultural by-products. Food at the farmers market is transported shorter distances and is generally grown using methods that minimize the impact on the earth. (See our Blogs under Sustainable Farming, which discuss sustainable farming methods such as biodynamic agriculture – something practiced by many of our Farms).
5. Nourish Yourself
Much of the food found in the average grocery store is highly processed and grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. Some of it has been irradiated, waxed, or gassed in transit. Many of these practices have negative effects on human health. In contrast, most food found at the Farmers Market is minimally processed, and many of our farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by using sustainable techniques, picking produce right before the market, and growing heirloom varieties. Just because it looks like an Apple doesn’t mean it is an Apple – in the nutritional sense. So make sure your “apple a day”, will “keep the Doc away”.
6. Discover the Spice of Life: Variety
One of the multitude of benefits coming to us via the Intuitive Forager, Kerry Clasby, is her abundant passion for – and knowledge of – untold varietals of produce. One of her goals has always been to share these with you, to introduce you to produce you may never have encountered before, and which is nutritious, delicious, and in-season. At the Farmers Markets you will find an amazing array of produce that you don’t see in your average supermarket: from uncommon roots like Burdock and Salsify, to a rainbow of Heirloom Tomatoes, from exotic greens like Puntarella and Stinging Nettles, to Green Garlic, Chocolate Persimmons, rare Mushrooms, and much, much more. It is a wonderful opportunity to savor the biodiversity of our planet.
7. Promote Humane Treatment of Animals
At the Farmers Markets, you can find meats, cheeses, and eggs from animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, who have grazed on green grass and eaten natural diets, and who have been spared the cramped and unnatural living conditions of feedlots and cages that are typical of animal agriculture.
8. Know Where Your Food Comes From
A regular trip to a Farmers Markets is one of the best ways to connect with where your food comes from. Meeting and talking to Farmers and food Artisans is a great opportunity to learn more about how and where food is produced.
9. Learn Cooking Tips, Recipes, and Meal Ideas
Few grocery store cashiers or produce stockers will give you tips on how to cook the ingredients you buy, but our Intuitive Farmshop employees along with our Farmers and Artisans at the Farmers Markets are very often also passionate cooks with plenty of free advice about how to cook the foods they are selling. And almost every Saturday you can also attend our free Chef Demos or Talk & Taste series led by Top Vegas Area Chefs. These World Class Chefs often donate their time to both support the Farmers Market, as well the community at large because they are passionate about what they do and they are passionate about freshly foraged, family farmed, organic produce. So make sure you take advantage of these often opportunities! Visit our upcoming events page to see what’s coming up next.
10. Connect with Your Community
Wouldn’t you rather stroll amidst outdoor stalls of fresh produce on a sunny day than roll your cart around a grocery store with artificial lights and piped in music? Coming to the Farmers Market makes shopping a pleasure rather than a chore. The Farmers Market is a community hub—a place to meet up with your friends, bring your children, or just get a taste of small-town life in the midst of the bright and flashing neon lights of Las Vegas.