Get outside of your grocery store
Spring is the best time of the year to start shopping at your local farmers market. One of the best reasons to shop at a local farmers market is the access to the freshest, tastiest foods around. The food is typically grown in your area of residence, not thousands of miles away or another country, so your money stays nearby to help local farmers thrive.
Having the option to buy more locally grown food has many benefits to your health and your community, and include the following:
- Eating local food is known as eating by the seasons. Even though we wish watermelon were grown year round in Virginia, the best time to eat watermelon is when it is purchased directly from the grower in the correct season. Watermelons are more flavorful and taste much better than the ones grown in the winter which have been picked before ripeness and travelled thousands of miles.
- Locally grown food has more flavor. Instead of being harvested early to be shipped and distributed, locally grown food is picked at their peak of ripeness. Many times, the foods you find at a farmers market have been picked within 24 hours or less of your purchase.
- Local foods have more nutrients. Nutritional value declines drastically as time passes after harvesting. Foods imported from far away typically are harvested before ripeness of nutrients, traveled great distances, and sits in distribution centers before getting to the grocery store.
- The farmers can tell you how the food was grown. You can ask what methods they use to raise their animals and harvest their crops. It is satisfying to know who grew your food and where it came from.
- Be a familiar face. Being a “regular” at the farmers market is enjoyable. You’ll feel like you belong there, you will get to know the growers and other regulars, and you’ll be known as a loyal customer.
- Local foods benefits the environment. Purchasing local foods help to preserve green space and farmland within your community. Also, on average most food travels about 1,500 miles before it reaches our plates.
When buying local food, it does not need to travel as far which decreases the amount of gasoline used and reduces pollution.
What is in season in April in Virginia?
- Green leafy vegetables
- Various meats
- Various cheeses
- Various seafood