Thursday, April 29, 2010

Season's Eatings! Farmers Markets and Freshness

It's almost May! And do you know what that means?


(Ok, well, it means that here, at least!) The grand opening for the market near my home will be opening in May :)

One great way to incorporate healthy eating is to support your local farmers. Big Agra - or big industrial agricultural production sites - are great for getting huge amounts of edible stuff out to you quickly... but usually they do so at the cost of quality and nutrition. Most over plant, under nourish, over fertilize and pesticide, and even manipulate genes to pump out quanity over quality.

But local farms often are smaller, more natural, organic productions. And hey - let's face it - working as a farmer cannot be easy! I know I'm a procrastinator, and know many others who are, too! Can you imagine procrastinating on a farm?! "Well, I know it's mid July already, and the ______ should be knee-high by now..." (You know you're from Ohio when you can fill in that blank!) ;-) "...but I haven't felt like getting up before the sun to work - I'll plant it tomorrow. I think I'd like to sit at a desk and check my email instead..."

Ok, I have no real experience on farms (one week when I was a child, but that's not going to give you a taste of year-round farming!) and I hope to get to talk with my local farmers and learn more this summer!

I digress...

Supporting your local family farms is great for your health- it's fresher! Even your "fresh" produce at the stores could have taken a minimum of 7 days to get from the field to the shelf! And once picked, it begins losing nutrients!

Supporting your local family farms is great for the environment - less transportation fuel burned to get it to you. Check your store-bough food sometime - it will have a "grown in" type label on it. Chances are, it's not the same state you live in. Maybe not even the same country!

Supporting your local family farms is great for your natural detoxing- less pollutants, chemicals, and genetically modified items! Maybe your farmer can't advertise that they're organic (see the Ode to Organic post- it costs money to get that label, that they may not have!) But most smaller farms will use natural products to feed their animals and grow their plants. Just ask!

Supporting your local family farms is great for your experience - every chance you have to talk to a new person with new life experiences is a time for you to enrich your appreciation of diversity! Sounds cheesy, I know - but I spent almost an hour with Dave at a market one year talking to a teacher who also likes to grow wheat as a hobby! He told us all about how he grows it, mills it, and then comes to the market to sell wheat flour and mixes for bread, pancakes, and the like. Or one Amish gentleman who said his favorite pesticide was his knife (he just flicks away some invaders!)

Supporting your local family farms is great for your wallet - usually local produce will cost less since it doesn't have to travel so far; plus in-season produce is usually cheaper anywhere!
So what's coming up in May for all the Ohioans?

*Asparagus *Broccoli *Greens (Mustard, Turnip) *Herbs (Cilantro, Dill, Parsley) *Lettuce *Peas *Radishes *Rhubarb *Spinach *and more! (You can check out some more information here.)

And strawberries are just around the corner, coming mid- to late- May! Yum!

So, I hope you at least check out a local market. So many new people, new foods, new ideas. And you'll be eating food that's in season - meaning, it's MEANT for that month for ultimate nutrition and taste! No gasses forcing ripening; no hormones forcing growth... just good, seasonal eating!


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