09 Aug Farm Market Produce or Grocery Store Produce Which is healthier?
Ever wonder which is healthier – farm market product or grocery store produce? Tis the season for weekend farmer’s markets and produce stands to start popping up in the area. Is farm market produce healthier than buying from a grocery store? We say YES! Let’s look at the pro’s and con’s of each.
Farm Market (Upside)
1. Stimulating the local economy. (If you spend $100.00 at a farmer’s market $68.00 goes back into the local community and $99.00 stays in the state.)
2. Buying direct from the farmer (huge savings)
3. Nutrition levels are typically higher. Time between pick and buying is greatly reduced selling it to you.
4. Most of the produce is organic or sustainable. Local farmers use sustainable (and/or organic) farming practices.
5. Protecting the environment. (Not a lot of extra packaging. Natural resources are being used for transportation versus getting shipped to a grocery store.)
6. Free, yummy samples!
Farm Market (Downside)
1. Trying to find a parking spot maybe challenging, depending on market location, and popularity.
2. Never know which produce will be available. Produce is seasonal, so selection varies.
3. Inconvenient times when they are open. Having to get up early on a Saturday morning to get the best selection.
Grocery Store Produce (Upside)
1. Getting all of your groceries in one place.
2. Hours that work for your schedule.
3. Easy parking.
Grocery Store Produce (Downside)
1. Never know when your produce was picked. Grocery store produce could be picked weeks before it makes it to the store. How long has it been sitting in storage?
2. Quicker spoilage of your produce (see #1)
3. Could be from another country-what herbicides or pesticides are they putting on the produce?
4. Only $25.00 of the $100.00 of produce you buy at the grocery stays in the state. Where does the rest of your money go?
5. Don’t get to see your local farmer. You can’t ask questions.
6. Items come in plastic containers (not good for the environment)
7. Could be highly process, or possibly genetically modified.
Some other things to think about:
Farmers markets create a sense of community. It’s always nice to wake up on a bright sunny Saturday morning with your cup of coffee and walk around checking out the selection of locally grown produce instead of rolling a cart at a grocery store with artificial lighting and elevator music.
It’s healthier and more sustainable to eat food that is locally grown. Eating food grown in the local area cuts down on the money, energy, and resources needed to ship the food to you. By cutting down on the natural resources used to transport your food to you, you’re doing your part to help the environment.
It’s outside. Being outside and getting some exposure to the sun can be of great benefit to your health. (If you have any sensitivities or skin disorders that become aggravated with sun exposure, you’ll have to use your best judgement to determine how much exposure is best for you.) The sun is the greatest source of Vitamin D which supports healthy bones and skin, and increasing serotonin, therefore reducing the chances of depression.
Seasonal: There’s a move in the United States towards a more seasonal style of eating where one eats what is locally available in season. Eating produce in season only 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.
Ripeness: Offerings at the farmer’s market are generally picked at optimal ripeness 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.
Supports local family farms: Purchasing fruits and vegetables from farmer’s markets supports local family farms, giving them the valuable capital they need to keep operating and providing consumers an alternative to mass-produced foods.
Conserves fuel: Many supermarkets receive their produce from hundreds or thousands of miles away. This involves the significant use of fossil fuels for shipping on refrigerated trucks and rail cars. Farmer’s market produce doesn’t have far to get from the farm to your table, significantly reducing the use of fossil fuels.
Better for the environment: Along with conserving fossil fuels, small family farms produce less environmental waste in the form of carbon monoxide, pesticide use, and chemical fertilizers.
Social Time: The farmer’s market is a great place to gather. Visiting is a fun family activity, and you can meet members of your community. Some farmer’s markets even offer entertainment and classes, making it a great way to interact with community members.
Provenance: When you shop at the farmer’s market, you know where your food has been. You can talk with the farm stand workers to learn about the farm’s growing and processing practices. In many cases, you can even visit the farms to see how they grow and handle the produce you are serving to your family.
Savoring produce at the peak of freshness to meeting the people who grow your food are great reason to support local!
Know where your food comes from….Talk to your local farmer, and connect with your community!