Summer is here and if you haven’t visited your local farmers market yet, you should. Farmers markets are excellent places to get fresh, healthy food directly from the grower. Besides being a fun outing, buying locally grown produce has many benefits:

Fresh Produce is Healthier

Fresh fruit and vegetables are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients that have been shown to protect against chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer. As time passes, the nutritional value in fruit and vegetables declines. Buying locally will minimize transportation and processing to ensure maximum:

  • Freshness
  • Taste
  • Nutrient retention

Shopping Locally Endures Freshness

Shopping at your local farmer’s market is the easiest way to ensure that your fruits and vegetables are at their peak. The produce you buy at a farmers market is seasonaland has been harvested at its freshest.

Farmer’s Markets Have Cleaner Produce

The food you get from the farmers market is generally safer, having either been grown organically or with a minimal use of chemicals.

Additionally, many fruits and vegetables come from large commercial operations which tend to use more pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Some of which have been shown to have negative effects on human health.

Minimizing Waste with Portion Control

When you buy at a farmer’s market, you purchase only what you need, reducing waste. If you only need one or two carrots, you won’t be required to buy a pre-packaged amount. In addition, you can inspect items for freshness, which can be difficult with packaged produce because you can’t see and feel the individual fruits or vegetables.

Farmer’s Markets Have Better Variety & Costs

Another benefit to shopping at the farmers market is the amazing variety of fruits and vegetables that you won’t find at your typical grocery store:

  • Red carrots
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Watermelon radishes

Often, the sellers would prefer not to pack up unsold food at the end of the day, so you may get some special pricing to buy a few more items. If you don’t need the items, they can be shared with family or friends. Who doesn’t love to get some fresh strawberries or tomatoes as a surprise treat?

Now is the perfect time to check out your local farmers market and get inspired to eat healthy. To find a market near you, the USDA Farmers Markets Search  is a good place to start.