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Local Farmers’ Markets Offer Fresh, Healthy Options

MILWAUKEE, Wis. Searching for fresh, nutritious food?

Want alternatives to everyday ingredients?

To find healthy foods and unique products, you don’t have to look much farther than your “backyard.”  Local farmers’ markets provide less-processed, flavorful produce and other farm-fresh products that can add variety to your diet and keep you on track with healthy choices.

TOPS Club, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly), the nonprofit weight-loss support organization, explains the benefits of visiting a local farmers’ market and offers some shopping list ideas.

Reasons to Buy Local

1. It comes direct from the farmer or grower.  You can trust that the produce is fresh and learn more about where it comes from.

2. The products haven’t had a long journey.  At a farmers’ market, it’s safe to assume that the food hasn’t traveled long distances to get there.  This reduces energy consumption to transport them and decreases the time between harvest and consumption.

3. Vendors offer recently harvested produce Reducing the time between when the food is picked and when it is consumed helps ensure that the nutrients have been preserved.

4. It supports the local economy.  Many markets put a mileage limit on vendors, ensuring that the food is from the area.  By purchasing food at a nearby farmers’ market, you are giving money to neighborhood farmers and stimulating the local economy.

5. Farmers and growers are the best resource.  As you are making your food choices, take time to talk to local vendors about their products.   Ask them about the growing process and when the food was picked.  Many of them are also a great resource for cooking tips, or recipes.

6. You can try new foods A farmers’ market is a great opportunity to learn about foods you’ve never seen and purchase items that will spice up your refrigerator or kitchen pantry.  It keeps your meals interesting.

7. They offer seasonal produce Vendors offer vibrant fruits and vegetables that change with the season.  When foods are in season, they are more colorful and flavorful.  At a conventional store, it can be difficult to determine what foods are in season.