Summer is the best time of the season to head to your local farmers market to enjoy the bounty of ripe fruits and vegetables right at your fingertips. There are many benefits to buying local, even if the produce is not necessarily organic.
Here are some reasons why farmers markets can be beneficial for your health and wallet:
- According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, when you buy locally, you often get produce that has traveled less than 50 miles from the place of purchase and picked in the last few days. This produce is going to be fresher, taste better and have more nutritional value. Conventional grocery store produce often travels an average of 1,200 miles, losing precious vitamins and minerals long the way.
- When you buy fresher food, it will last longer at home, which cuts waste and dollars.
- Buying local can help smaller businesses and farms.
- If you do tend to buy more organic foods, you may be able to get a better deal than at a grocery store because they are competitively priced.
- Because you are buying foods that are prepped less and without excess packaging, you will tend to spend less and help the environment by reducing plastic waste.
Another good option is to buy a share in a farm program or join a CSA (community supported agriculture), where you pay the farmer in the beginning of the season and pick up your produce once or twice weekly. This also may help to cut costs as you will tend to spend less than at the grocery store.