By Angelica Gonzalez and Hannah Cole
Buying local or from farmers markets has numerous benefits. Not only is the variety amazing, the produce tastes delicious and it comes from well-known sources. Many local grocery stores also buy local fruits and vegetables, and they have signs that tell the buyer where the produce comes from.
Here are some of the reasons why you may want to buy from local farmers markets:
- You know where your food is coming from. While at a farmers market, you may be able to speak to the farmers that grew the food you are buying. They will tell you anything you want to know about the produce. This differs from traditional grocery stores, where you may not know exactly where the fruits and vegetables are grown.
- It is healthier. Buying from the local farmers market may be a much healthier option because the fruits and vegetables lose fewer nutrients since they come straight from the farm. Also, many fruits and vegetables found at farmers markets are typically grown without pesticides, hormones and genetic modifications.
- Protects the environment. On average, food travels 1,500 miles to get to your plate. All of this traveling causes pollution in the environment because of the trucks and packaging used to transport. Buying local eliminates the waste involved with transportation and packaging.
- It tastes better. Fruits and vegetables bought at farmers markets are often tastier. This is because they are left in the field to ripen longer. Usually they go straight to the farmers market for sale within about 24 hours.
- Good for local economy. You are spending your money with local farmers. Buying straight from farmers gives them a better profit for their produce. You can help new and smaller farmers—some within your own community.
- Larger variety of fruits and vegetables. Farmers markets often have a larger selection of exotic or hard-to-find fruits and vegetables. Some of these include yellow plums, yellow raspberries, heirloom tomatoes, white radishes, figs and wax beans. You do not typically find these items at most grocery stores.
- You know what you are buying. Most vendors offer opportunities to taste their product before buying it. This is very convenient because you know if you like the product before you purchase it.
Buying produce at your local farmers market not only benefits you, but everything around you. It helps the environment because large trucks and bulky packaging are not needed to transport the goods. It helps your body because fruits and vegetables maintain their nutrients better. Finally, it helps the local economy because farmers can sell their produce straight from their gardens or farms and gain more profit.
Angelica Gonzalez is a freshman at San Juan Hills High School and Hannah Cole is a freshman at Laguna Hills High School. This is the second in a series of four columns written by girls in the Girl Scout Senior Troop 528 of San Juan Capistrano.