What Is an Alphington Farmers Market?
The main reason for purchasing products in the grocery store is to get a variety of choices from several brands. While this approach may be fine when you have just purchased your groceries and are walking out of the store with no idea where to put your next item, it’s not how we actually buy nearly all of our food. What most people don’t realize, however, is that there is a different “market” out there — one that takes into account everything to deliver a wide variety of foods at lower prices than we can find on the shelves. If you’re looking for quick and easy ways to get some fresh produce, frozen fruits and vegetables, or even ready-to-eat meals that aren’t quite as expensive but still taste great, then buying food from a local farm is a good place to start. In fact, some farmers markets are now selling items they grow themselves, so purchasing locally is a more sustainable choice than simply ordering them online or through online retailers like Amazon. But you can also benefit by shopping locally from farms located across the country. For example, many cities offer farmer’s markets — including one right here in Boise that operates two weekly markets every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year. Why go to Farmer’s Markets There are plenty of reasons to visit an all year-round farmer’s supermarket — from stocking up on fresh ingredients to getting a feel for the weather and making new friends. Here are just a few examples of things that farmers’ markets sell and their benefits. Fresh Produce – Whether it’s apples, tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes or onions, farmers markets will usually have a selection of these varieties. And while growing your own produce isn’t always possible for everyone, most farmers markets have one-on-one consultations with the farmer. This allows shoppers to truly understand what kind of crops they’re buying and helps ensure quality. Local Food Companies – Many farmers markets sell only local food items because these local food producers believe that their produce (like organic or grass fed) is fresher and tastier. They trust that the company has only grown its crop organically and doesn’t rely on pesticides or other chemical inputs. This creates a sense of community between consumers and stores who care about saving the planet. Community – It’s important to keep the community spirit alive when going to farmers markets to pick up fresh produce because otherwise, you might end up visiting a store and thinking that you actually don’t enjoy the store — especially since farmers markets tend to come together often on large weekends, and there are often more opportunities there for conversation and socializing. Local Health Options – When you’re able to shop locally, you’ll be able to try before buy products from local health products and brands instead of buying generic versions of overpriced prescription drugs and supplements. A lot of doctors don’t want their patients to take prescriptions because pharmaceutical companies have been found to pay off big pharma executives with their endorsements. So don’t assume that you should necessarily use medications from any drugstore drugstore. Shopping at farmer’s markets may also allow you to learn which products are popular with healthcare professionals, thus helping you avoid unnecessary medical bills. Nutrition – Often when farmers markets sell packaged goods, it can mean that they’re packed with processed food that won’t actually meet the nutritional standards of what someone would eat fresh. By eating nutrient dense healthy foods that come straight from a local farmer or small business, you’re better able to maximize your nutritional intake — without having to worry about calorie counts or trying to count calories. Healthy Living – Buying from local farm stands may give you an opportunity to interact with the locals you live around — and chances are that they may also be keen to help you improve your health through tips to exercise more, eat healthier and get more rest. You can find many restaurants that specialize in local dishes, too. Your knowledge about nutrition may help make cooking healthier, and you may make new friends that will be eager to support your plans to get the best local produce possible. Friends / Family – One of the major perks of visiting a local farmer’s market is getting to know the folks that grow the stuff that you’re purchasing. Some families will bring along kids to share in the experience, while others will leave behind young parents that want to teach their children about nutrition. Regardless of whether you have kids yourself — or if it’s just one of the older members of your household — seeing the whole family at a farmers market makes it easier to connect with your community and learn about the food safety practices of those who grow food. Learning About Other Cultures – Perhaps you already know that buying local food means eating healthier versions, but maybe you haven’t heard much about other cultures. Although Americans tend to think that Asian produce is more costly than European or American ingredients, in many cases, the price difference isn’t actually huge. And yes, Asian vegetables are considered to be higher in antioxidants and vitamins. Chinese produce that goes into western diets is known for being very high in vitamin C, potassium, manganese and iron, as well as being low in saturated fats, sodium, sugar and excess calories. Japanese produce like kimchi and miso soup have become incredibly popular in Western countries after being introduced to Western audiences during World War II. If you decide that you want to visit Japan for your trip, you can see why, as both of these cuisines may be unique. Either way, knowing about your food and its origins will help you appreciate more diverse cuisine when traveling or vacationing. Enjoy a Better Taste – Not to mention helping save money in the long run, buying from local shops tends to yield cheaper food over time since stores don’t spend extra advertising space on products from overseas. Plus, if you make a purchase from a restaurant that serves imported pasta, don’t expect to save money because the noodles are made in Vietnam and Thailand in factories far away and shipped to America where they’re then thrown upon your plate. Because of this trade route, it has become increasingly common for US citizens to receive contaminated sushi in Japan. Also, while pasta often looks pretty healthy in the photos provided above, it’s probably loaded with oil, salt, MSG, nitrates and other preservatives that could negatively affect your diet. Just remember that the less saturated fat, sodium and added sugars found in natural pasta, the tastier it will be! Food Safety Policies & Regulations – Even if you’re not a fan of meats or dairy products, most cities require local establishments to serve a safe amount of meat per day, and to provide enough of all animal-based products for patrons to consume safely. These regulations are enforced through ordinances, building codes and city rules and regulations. To help ensure compliance: check restaurants’ websites before planning your trip to make sure they have adequate hygiene procedures and cleanliness standards, such as cleaning kitchen surfaces daily before each meal; never leave plastic straws or utensils lying around inside a place; wash hands before handling any dish; always cook food from scratch using only your preferred utensil and never use commercial pre-packaged spices; and follow restaurant signage and sanitization protocols. Once in the store, you might find that some grocery displays will contain products you’re unfamiliar with, so be sure to ask questions and read each aisle in detail to ensure that you aren’t missing anything. Watch Out for Illegal Items – While you won’t find any actual illegal items in local stores, it’s important to check out each section of your neighborhood market to understand what laws do apply in areas where you plan to travel. Keep an eye out for packaging labels that say something like ‘no slaughter allowed,’ as these products could come from factory farms where animals are treated cruelly and killed in order to supply humans with cheap protein. Be aware of the dangers of GMO food and GMOs often include chemicals like corn, soybean, wheat and cotton. All of these can be harmful if ingested and lead to heart disease and cancer.
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