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Farmers Markets and CSA: Eating Right with Farm Fresh Nutrition

Becoming health savvy is a commitment more and more people are making. It goes beyond eating right and exercising. These days, people are recognizing there’s a bigger picture. The land that feeds our livestock and crops also feeds us; in order to give our bodies the best nutrition, it only makes sense that we should also support the health of the land and the farmers who tend to it.

Doing your part is easy—and even fun! If you aren’t already visiting your local farmers market, now is high time to check one out. No matter where you live, you’re likely to find a market nearby. Most farmers markets open in late spring and continue through mid to late fall. By supporting your local farmers market, you have an easy opportunity to have a positive impact on your health, the environment, animal welfare and the livelihood of farmers. Here’s just a few reasons you should shop farmers markets:

· Nutrition: Most farmers use sustainable growing methods and practice humane animal husbandry, leaving you with healthier options

· Fresh food: Shorter transport times from farm to market ensure freshness and flavor

· Economic benefit: Shopping locally keeps money in the local economy

· Community bonding: Meeting other local residents increases a sense of connection and pride

· Diverse tastes: Seasonally available produce encourages exposure to new foods

· Environmental impact: Friendly farming practices reduce toxic residue and groundwater pollution

Farmers markets have been around for a long time. Some have remained simple, resembling a roadside produce stand, while others have developed into large, organized marketplaces. The latter are gaining traction in most locations, even in smaller towns, and offer more than produce, with products including homemade soaps, woodwork, natural lotions and oils, and handmade crafts. Some markets even have entertainment, usually featuring local singer-songwriters.  A visit to the farmers market can be a fun time for the whole family.

In cities with multiple markets, operating times will vary, so you’ll have the benefit of choosing a location and time convenient to you. If there’s only one market in your area, odds are it will be open on Saturday. Getting out and mingling with your neighbors and other community members while browsing tables for fresh produce, baked goods, and natural products is a great way to spend a warm summer or cool fall morning. And don’t forget to chat with the vendors! From offering recipes to ingredient info to growing tips, they’re an excellent resource.

If you’d like to further invest in your health and your community, try community-supported agriculture, or CSA as it’s commonly known. A CSA is a business relationship between a local farm and consumers. Consumers are essentially shareholders and invest funds to support farm growing and harvesting operations, ensuring the longevity of local farming. The return on investment for the consumer comes in the form of regular installments of produce, and sometimes organic and/or free-range eggs and beef. CSAs ensure you have a constant supply of the freshest produce around, and you save on trips to the grocery store. It’s a win-win!

Farmers markets and CSAs are two fantastic options to benefit your personal health and your community. Have you visited a farmer’s market? Share your experience and shopping tips.

You can also learn more about how Juice Plus+ partners with local farmers to source the best ingredients for our products here.

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