Get the freshest produce
When you shop at the local market, you have the freshest selection of the product. Crops sold and distributed in retail markets are often harvested early and mature over time as they travel, while crops sold in local markets are harvested at full maturity, usually within 24 hours of purchase. according to Michigan State University. When it is fully ripe, the product is not only the freshest, but also full of flavor, which may not always be the case for products that were to ripen after collection.
You are eating what is seasonal
Your local market product choices are in sync with the seasons. Being able to eat food according to when they are available, therefore when they are the freshest and most nutritious. You are also more in tune with the order of nature. Stephanie Kay of Kay Nutrition says that seasonal eating is the most natural way to eat, so it is one of the most beneficial ways to nourish our body.
You can try new food
Local markets are the best places to find variety. While grocery stores can supply three or four varieties of fresh tomatoes, local farmers can preserve up to 300 varieties depending on the time of year. You have many options in the local market as you discover new varieties of vegetables and fruits.
As food availability changes with the seasons, you also have the challenge of being more creative in the kitchen. You are bound to not trust your “one-year staples” and work with what is accessible. Then you can try new ways to prepare food, from cooking new dishes to trying methods like pickling and canning.
Local food is often more nutritious
When vegetables and fruits are harvested to their maximum ripeness, it is not only when they are tastiest but also when they are most nutritious. When purchased at the local market, the products have a shorter travel time from the farm to your table, which also reduces the degradation of their nutritional value.
It is also helpful to keep in mind that the food we have during the seasons is in sync with what our body needs and is also what our ancestors used to eat. For example, during the summer, it is when fruits, berries and vegetables are most abundant because it gets cold and when temperatures start to drop, root vegetables and more abundant products help us to withstand the cold.
Buying local helps you buy and eat more carefully
When you buy food at the local market, you know more about where it came from and who produced it. Learn more about the food you buy and often also get great tips on how to prepare the food you bought.
This connection you have with your food makes you more aware. With this awareness, you become more deliberate about the foods you buy to nourish your body. You also develop a deeper understanding of the hard work of love that many farmers go through to offer you the food you are buying. When you used to have a disconnect with the food you bought on the shelves, you now have a deeper connection to the food you bring home.
It is more beneficial for the environment
When purchased locally, there is often less waste because fruits and vegetables are not wrapped in unnecessary packaging unlike those found in retail grocery stores. The distribution chain is also much shorter, reducing farm travel time from home. In general, local purchases have a lower carbon footprint than their retail counterparts.
It also supports sustainable agriculture that promotes the variety of crops that is beneficial to soil health and creates a healthy agricultural cycle. This, in turn, helps reduce the dependence on fertilizers and chemical solutions that are often used when practicing monocultures that can be detrimental to local ecology.
It supports the local economy
By buying premises, you can re-channel your support to your community. When you buy from your local farmers and markets, you support their businesses and, in turn, help them support their families. And if for some reason you don’t have access to the local market, you can get locally sourced ingredients through a grocery delivery app. This ongoing support becomes a healthy cycle that keeps farmers producing local food so that everyone can enjoy it.
The benefits of local food
Eating locally is not just a beneficial option that affects you as an individual. Your choice has a domino effect that is exponential in scope for everyone in your community. This helps foster a healthier community, a stronger local economy and healthier farming practices, all incredibly positive changes that start with your choice to buy local produce.
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