Friday, September 14, 2012

Farmer's Market: Tips and Tours

Farmer's Markets are growing all over country and are becoming increasingly popular. In a society where we have become so disconnected from our food, I find it's amazing that people are choosing to get right back to the source: the farm. Understanding food, where it comes from, how it's produced, and why it rightfully costs what it does is the start to changing how we not only eat but how we look at food in this country.

The farm is the foundation of food production and the effort that real farmers put into their work is to be greatly valued. Farmers who treat their animals with care and the soil with the respect it deserves are bringing back traditional practices and honoring the principles of sustainability. Without such practices, food won't exist as it does today for the generation of tomorrow. We are already suffering from a lack of this in the food brought to our tables today. The nutrient values of fruits and vegetables grown conventionally can be 40-60% less than that of organically grown vegetables.  An apple today has less than 40% of the Vitamin A it contained in the 60's while a serving of collard greens has lost more than 80% of the calcium it once contained. These are key nutrients that support our everyday health and keep our bodily systems functioning optimally. With effort, they can be restored but without they will only continue diminishing.

Don't assume that every vendor at your farmer's market is organic because often they are conventionally raising their crops using synthetic, chemical fertilizers and spraying with pesticides, herbicides or fungicides. Today more than 2.5 million tons of pesticides are applied to the major food crops in the United States. This is a tragedy for farming and for health. Always ask questions and most importantly get to know your farmer.

As a Nutrition Educator and farmer's market vendor myself, I understand the incredible value of local, organic and seasonal foods. One of my favorite services that I offer is a thorough  Farmer's Market Tour with tips and tricks for making it your choice for shopping. I provide a brief introduction to my favorite local farms and why I love them so much. I show my clients how to save money and shop on a budget while providing real food for a family. The tour is highly recommended for anyone who is interested in taking the next step in their health journey as the farmer's market is the best place to purchase your weekly produce and other food items. In Santa Barbara County we are lucky enough to have 8 markets, 6 days a week. There is a market for everyone's busy schedule.

There is hidden joy in coming back to the farm, to food from its closest source. Cooking becomes an adventure as you try new foods and recommendations from your local farmer. Eating becomes exciting when you understand the work that went into the meal you're enjoying, when you know your every dollar was well spent. The Farmer's Market is invaluable to me and my practices in restoring health to the family and the community. Please contact me at for more information on my tours and how they might benefit you and your family. You can also read more about this topic on my Wholesome Shopping page.
Photo Courtesy of Israel Cohen


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