By: Deborah Moss, RD, CDN
Memorial Day marked the unofficial start of summer and the beginning of barbeque season, vacations and family get-togethers. While it is often easy to over-indulge and forget about healthy eating during these few short months, summer offers a great opportunity to indulge in the many fresh fruits and vegetables that are grown locally at farmer’s markets.
Let’s look at the top reasons for buying from your local farm stands:
- Produce is picked at peak ripeness. Produce harvested at peak ripeness contains the highest concentration of nutrients. Most fruits and vegetables are picked before their prime and then transported long distances to various markets. Produce from farms stands that sell only locally grown foods may have been harvested within hours of making it to the local stand. Supermarket produce is often days to weeks old.
- Produce tastes better. When produce is picked at peak ripeness it is also at its peak flavor.
- Produce is often sold at lower or equal prices. Farmers cut out the middleman man and sell directly to consumers, which often leads to lower prices or equal prices but fresher, larger quantities of produce.
- Produce with less chemicals. Locally grown food will likely contain fewer chemicals, if any at all, because small farms tend to be less aggressive when using fertilizers and pesticides, which can have negative effects on our health.
- Discover new foods. While you will always find some of your favorite summer foods like tomatoes and berries, you will more than likely discover a new fruit or vegetable you’ve never seen before. And if you’re confused on what exactly to do with it, your local farmer will give you tips on how to prepare and cook it.
- Safeguard your health. Knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown enables you to choose safe food. Buy food from local farmers you trust.
To find local farmers markets and farm stands and learn what your local farmers are harvesting now, visit the USDA’s National Farmers Market Directory.
Deborah Moss is a registered dietitian and certified dietetic nutritionist. She is the owner of Natural Nutrition and Wellness, a private nutrition counseling practice that specializes in women’s health and wellness, specifically focusing on weight management and the integration of nutrition for disease prevention and management. Deborah graduated from Queens College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition. She completed a dietetic internship program through LIU, CW Post. She has presented nutrition and wellness classes associated with diabetes, heart disease and weight management to numerous clients through corporate wellness programs. Deborah’s goal in counseling is in helping others achieve a healthier and more balanced life.
For any diet and nutrition questions, contact Deborah at nnwellness.com!