Oklahoma Produce Market
Do you frequent your local farmers produce market? If you’re looking for ways to support the local economy, local businesses especially local farmers, the local produce market is a great way to do it. Local produce markets help diversity thrive. For those on the fence, check out these 10 benefits of the local farmers produce market.
One. Farm Fresh Produce.
This is probably the most obvious benefit. Fruits and vegetables you find at the grocery store are shipped hundreds to thousands of miles. They are picked before they are ripe and sometimes even chemically ripened. Farmer’s market produce, however, is usually picked the day before or even that morning. It’s as fresh as it gets, short of growing it yourself.
Two. Get More Information.
Ask questions about their growing processes, food processing equipment, animal raising practices. Meet face to face with the person growing your food and get to know them. Most importantly, get the BEST recipes! Some of my favorite recipes for the more unique produce are those I get from the farmers I’ve met.
This goes along with asking questions because when you shop at the farmer’s market, you know where your food has been and can ask questions. This is a vital step in trust. In many cases, you can even visit the farms to see how they grow and handle the produce you are serving to your family.
Whatever the farmers grow to sell, you can bet it’s the best because their family is eating it too. Basically you’re like family!
Four. It’s seasonal.
Seasonal eating is one of the best things you can do for the environment and probably for your health too. Some nutritionists suggest eating seasonally available foods is better for your body, because humans ate seasonal produce for thousands of years before refrigerated shipping changed all that. Eating produce in season just makes sense. Lighter fruits and vegetables are available seasonally in the spring and summer, while heartier winter vegetables like squash and parsnips provide sustenance for the cooler autumn and winter months.
Five. Nutrition and Taste
Offerings at the farmer’s produce market are generally picked at the peak of their ripeness. This is when the plants’ natural sugars are at their peak. Eating produce when it is ripe not only tastes better, but it also provides the best nutrition possible.
Nutrition is displayed not only in the taste, but also the colors. Compare the vivid colors of the produce at the produce market to those at the store. The store’s produce pales in comparison, literally. If that’s not enough, then TASTE that produce market tomato in comparison to supermarket tomato. That gorgeous, bright heirloom tomato is guaranteed to taste amazing because it was picked at just the right time.
As I mentioned produce markets specialize in diversity. If everyone grows the same thing, then there is too much competition. However, in everything grown in industrialized farming settings is…well, industrial. There are several drawbacks to this method.
Industrial farming favors monocultures, or growing only one type of fruit or vegetable. Different plants give or tack specific nutrients, so this can suck the land dry of essential nutrients.
Also, this leads to an infestation of certain diseases and pests. This leads to heavier use of pesticides. Diversity of plants leads to a diversity in the food web that leads to a healthier, more natural pest management.
There might be some disagreement about this, but if the farmer’s market produce has better quality, more nutrients, better for the environment, it’s actually a better value for your money. Considering you might actually save money on healthcare expenses over the longterm, I’d say it’s a great value.
Eight. Supports Local Economies and Families.
Most farmer’s market produce is grown within 100 miles of the market. Farmers make a fraction of the profit selling to corporate distributors as they do selling at farmers markets. Farms are also a source of local jobs and likely to spend money they make on their produce in the local economy.
Nine. Better for the Environment
As previously mentioned, produce travels hundreds or thousands of miles in refrigerated trucks or rail cars before finally reaching our plates. This process involves exorbitant amounts of fossil fuels. Most farmers travel less than a hundred miles to a farmers market. Farmer’s markets also often operate in the open air and thus do not require electricity or heating.
Along with conserving fossil fuels, small family farms tend to produce less environmental waste in the form of carbon monoxide, pesticide use, and chemical fertilizers. They are also less likely to utilize giant processing and sorting machines that contribute to environmental decay. All in all, farmers produce markets are much better for the environment.
The farmer’s market is a great place to gather, meet friends, go out for a family activities and socialize with other members of the community. Some farmer’s markets even offer entertainment and classes, making it a terrific way to while away a fall afternoon.
These are some of the many benefits of shopping at the local farmer’s produce market. Leave a comment with your favorite thing about your local farmer’s market in Oklahoma!
Don’t forget to share this information to inspire others to support local farmers!