6 reasons to shop at a farmers market

For the most delicious and nutrient-dense produce, look no farther than your local farmers market. These markets offer fruits and vegetables at the peak of their growing season, which means the produce is at its freshest and tastes the best.

And it’s likely more nutritious than what you’d buy at the grocery store. Most fruits and vegetables at the supermarket are grown in other states or even other countries. When food is shipped across the globe or the country, it loses quality and nutrients along the way.

If that’s not enough, here are six other reasons to visit farmers markets this season.

  1. Get the best nutrients. Most food at farmers markets is minimally processed. Many farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by using sustainable techniques and picking produce right before selling.
  2. Access a wide variety of produce. Farmers markets offer an array of produce you don’t see in the supermarket: red carrots, a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, purple cauliflower, gooseberries, watermelon radishes, donut peaches, quail eggs and much more. Pick something new to try!
  3. Learn cooking tips and meal ideas. Farmers are often passionate cooks with plenty of free advice about how to prepare the foods they sell. Just ask!
  4. Enjoy a fun family outing. These markets are kid-friendly and a great opportunity to talk about where food comes from. Encourage healthier snacks by letting your kids pick something to try.
  5. Protect the environment. Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1500 miles before it ends up on your plate. This shipping uses large amounts of natural resources (like fossil fuels) that create pollution and trash from extra packaging. Most food at farmers markets is grown and sold near the same place, using sustainable methods.
  6. Support the local economy. Shopping at farmers markets also supports your local farmers and keeps the money you spend on food closer to your neighborhood.
The AAMC farmers market is open to the community and runs every Friday from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm through Oct. 25 in the Hospital Pavilion South (ground level) located at 2001 Medical Parkway. The AAMC farmers market now accepts Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits via the electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card. By accepting SNAP benefits, formerly known as food stamps, AAMC is expanding access to fresh fruits and vegetables to everyone in our community.

Want to turn your produce into a delicious side dish? Try this grilled veggie platter for dinner. 
Caldwell Shackelford Photo3

By Ann Caldwell and Maureen Shackelford, nutritionists and registered dietitians at Anne Arundel Medical Center. To reach them call 443-481-5555.

Originally published June 15, 2016. Last updated June 3, 2019.

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