Kristin Coggins, RDN
Registered Dietitian/ Patient Advocate
One of my favorite things about summer is weekend trips to the farmer’s market!
I spend each weekend picking up produce and some of my favorite household staples at my local farmer’s market. There are so many benefits of supporting local farmers, and buying fresh and local produce. This is hands down the best place to get inspiration, farmers work so hard to bring beautiful produce each weekend, and it inspires me to make healthy, nutrient dense meals to bring to the table.
Here are some reasons why I love shopping at farmer’s markets and you should too!
Variety: I always tell my patients to eat an array of colors and to enjoy a wide variety of different foods as this is the best way to get a good balance of nutrients- and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals
Flavor: Have you ever bitten into a fresh palisade peach or eaten a fresh juicy heirloom tomato sprinkled with a little salt? Produce is always picked at the peak of ripeness, allowing for the best flavor and most nutrition.
Ability to Support Local Farmers: Industrialized farming has become the norm in today’s society. Supporting local family farms gives consumers an alternative to mass produced foods. Buying local helps ensure we will continue to have access to nourishing and flavorful foods for years to come!
Eco Friendly Foods: Small family farms often produce less environmental waste as well as use less chemical fertilizers and pesticides. You also have the ability to talk with the farmers to learn more about where and how your food is produced. Many farmers participating in local farmers markets use organic methods to grow their produce.
Affordable: compare prices at the farmers market to what you spend on produce at the grocery store; I think you will be surprised. Eating healthy, nutrient dense foods should be a priority and can often times save money in the long term on health care expenses!
Some of my weekly staples include:
Wild-caught salmon. I always try to aim to eat seafood 2x per week! Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Tomatoes. Whether its cherry tomatoes for a salad or a few fresh juicy heirloom tomatoes to cut up and eat throughout the week – you can’t go wrong!
Zucchini. Roasted zucchini is one of my favorite sides and something you can do in bulk to have on hand for the rest of the week. Everyone is also spiralizing these things for delicious pasta dishes!
A cruciferous vegetable (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy). The cabbage family is a great source of vitamins and minerals not to mention an excellent source of fiber!
Making the farmers market a routine is something that can be enjoyed by all; what was once a chore can now become a fun outing for the entire family with a healthy outcome!