Friday, August 29, 2014
Why buy at the farmers market?
It's the weekend again, and here in my town it's time to head off to the market on Saturday morning. But why? Well there are plenty of good reasons.
Of course locally sourced and seasonally raised foods taste better. They spend more time in the fields ripening - developing sweetness and flavor - because they don't need to be picked under-ripe for shipping thousands of miles away. Picking under-ripe vegetables also reduces the nutritional value. Farmers can grow more diverse varieties, bred for quality and flavor rather than long shelf life. And though a region may experience a drought or unusually cold weather for a season, the fruits and vegetables still grow at their optimal time, ensuring the best possible taste.
Buying local also benefits the environment and economy. When we reduce our "food miles", the distance our food travels from farm to table, we reduce our carbon footprint, the impact of transportation, refrigeration and packaging needed to carry produce around the country, With local food purchase, you ensure that more of your food dollars go to the farmer and local economy in the form of revenue and taxes. Buying local keeps your dollars in your own community. In Wisconsin, if every household purchased just $12 a week for 8 weeks (summer) at a local market, around $200 million would be reinvested in our local farms. A million here, a million there and pretty soon we're talking real money!
So, buy local and buy often!
Live in Wisconsin and don't know where to find a market? Just go to this map...
FIND A MARKET
Here is a great book on cooking from your farmers market.