I love a farmer’s market and find that they have amazing offerings year-round, but the summer is a special time of bounty when they really show off.
Some of my favorite reasons to shop at a farmer's market:
Fresher ingredients means more nutrient density and better taste. Have you ever compared a store-bought strawberry to one found at a farmer’s market? The one from the market is a rich, dark red inside and bursting with sweet, juicy flavor, versus the one found at the grocery store which is usually pretty light inside, and often lacking any flavor. And unfortunately nutrients.
Less waste & lower carbon footprint. Unlike grocery store items, most food at the market is not individually wrapped in plastic, which cuts down on waste. Also, when you cut of the middleman of the truck that carries the food to the store, you create a smaller carbon footprint.
It's easier to incorporate more color & diversity into your diet. I see super low good gut bacteria all.the.time on stool test results. This impacts hormone synthesis and systemic inflammation, so getting those microbes in a better spot is pretty important. The best way to do that is by increasing variety in your diet, and the color and variety you are exposed to at the market makes that easy!
Less mono-cropping. Monocropping is a technique used by big ag companies where they plant the same crop over and over on the same land. This reduces the mineral diversity of the soil, and therefore, the mineral content of your food. This is one major reason why it’s so hard to meet your daily requirement of magnesium from food alone – our soil is so depleted of magnesium that foods that were once rich sources are now not very good sources.
By shopping at a farmer’s market, you’re boosting local economy and supporting the hard work and better products that your farmers are cranking out.
Better prices. In many cases, the products you find at a farmer’s market are better quality and lower priced than a similar item from a grocery store. Not to mention, some farmer’s market will double SNAP benefits!
Obviously there are lots of reasons to support your local farmer’s market! As I mentioned earlier, farmer's markets have great stuff year-round, but am going to highlight 5 of my favorite farmer’s market finds during the current summer season.
Strawberries are a good source of vitamin C, plus they are high in fiber - read: they make a great carb to pair with a protein for a well-rounded snack that won’t spike your blood sugar. They are also great fertility boosters as they contain anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Some of my favorite ways to eat them are atop Greek yogurt or inside a shake. What’s not to love about a strawberry?
2. Sprouts or microgreens
Sprouts are super tasty and a great way to add color and nutrient density to your food. I see all kinds of variety of sprouts out there – broccoli (which is great at helping detox estrogen), cilantro (something most people love or hate – I personally am in the love camp!), radish, mustard, fennel…and the list goes on! I can usually find a really tasty mix at the farmer’s market. I love this for adding color and veggies to an egg breakfast, or throwing on a sandwich or salad for extra taste & nutrition.
3. Raw milk
Milk is not a seasonal product, but I couldn’t not include it on this list. Raw milk is unpasteurized, and therefore still has enzymes in tact that help you digest it. Many people are unable to tolerate conventional dairy (store-bought) but can tolerate raw without any issues. Milk has a nicely rounded macronutrient composition (great balance of fat, carbs, and protein) which makes it a great stand-alone snack (a lot of my clients love it as a bedtime snack). Not to mention it’s high in calcium, iodine, potassium, and other minerals. I highly recommend giving this Fertility Friday Podcast episode a listen to educate yourself more on the numerous benefits of raw milk – Fertility Friday Raw Milk Episode . And always recommend that you trust your source. Use this link to find raw milk near you.
4. Leafy Greens
Leafy green options abound at the farmer’s market! You can find things like chard, bok choy, collards, lettuce, and more. These are packed with nutrients, and especially high in folate. Folate is imperative in the first few weeks of pregnancy as the baby’s neural tube is closing. I recommend a daily serving in that case. Leafy green veggies are quick and easy to cook, and also fall under the umbrella of bitter foods, which promote good digestion and good bile health.
5. Pastured eggs
Pastured eggs are nutritionally superior to other eggs. You will notice that the yolk of a fresh, pastured egg has a much richer color – that’s because nutrients are higher! In chickens who spend a lot of time in the sun (on pasture), the vitamin D content of their eggs is also exponentially higher. Plus they contain double the amount of vitamin E & omega-3 fatty acids, both of which are anti-inflammatory, compared with factory farmed eggs. And with the surging price of eggs lately, buying from the market will save a good bit of money!
While these are some of my favorites, they are also just the tip of the market iceberg. Fruits, veggies, herbs, flowers, juices, dairy, grains, and baked goods all in one place? Sign me up! Looking for a market near you? This site has a really comprehensive list of markets in your area. Happy shopping!