Big reveal: I'm a big supporter of the market. Sure, the potential crowds may take some getting used to and the parking isn't always abundant, but if I can handle it, so can you.
Despite my reusable bags eliminating any opportunity for blood circulation down my arm, I am a pretty happy shopper every Saturday morning. Here’s why:
When you buy goods from the market, whether it is produce, bakery items or unique finds, you are supporting local farmers, artisans and business owners in your area. While my area of expertise is not in economics, I do appreciate having a slightly better understanding of who my food is coming from and who my money is supporting.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some deep-fried, sugar-filled goodies to try and resist, and there aren't as many high quality meal options as I’d like, but when it comes to the produce, fresher not only tastes better, but is scientifically healthier for you. The less time it’s been removed from the earth’s ground, the more nutrients available.
While farmers need some time to prepare for selling their product at markets, their goods are usually picked the day before or even the day of purchase, which means those raspberries that came from the USA, or the tomatoes that came from Mexico aren’t nearly the same. Not only do they likely have more chemicals on them to make them look more enticing at the grocery store, but they’ve gone through days and days of transportation before they even land on your plate. In addition to that, they are likely being picked even before they are ripe to account for the lengthy transport time. The fix? Find your local farmer.
Not only are your fruits and veggies healthier because they are fresher, you also get to purchase food based on the farmers practices, while having more control with who exactly you are supporting. When you walk up to the booth, you get to interact with the farmer or the workers who likely have some close tie to the food itself, with the opportunity to ask questions about how it was grown and produced or ways to use it in different dishes. Just like anyone who is passionate about what they do, the farmers or bakers or small business owners love a good conversation about their product. Why not start one?
Aaaaaand you can take your kids to expose them to the source of the whole foods they eat, and involve them in the market activities. You learn; they learn. Win. Win.
When you get to know the farmers, you connect with other people. When you educate yourself on where it’s coming from and the processes used, you connect more with your food. When you support local, you connect more with your community. When you are aware the truck drove from only a few towns over, instead of travelling across the country, continent or world, and you can walk around saying “no thank you” to plastic bags, you connect more with the environment. And when you enjoy the experience, the company you're with and The Yeti breakfast you should most definitely try, you connect more with yourself.
This Saturday, go for twenty minutes and quickly get what you need, or go for hours and make an entire morning out of it. Either way, enjoy the experience and know you're doing good for all parties involved: you, the farmers, your local economy and the environment. THE III MARKET TIPS:
Bring your own bags to save plastic, or a cart to save your arms.
Arrive closer to the start time to avoid the crowds and guarantee parking. Traffic typically picks up as the day goes on.
Double check the location of produce and ensure it's product of Ontario, or your given area.
Pay attention to the seasonal produce. It will be fresher, more nutritious and keep you connected to the time of year and your natural cycle of nutritional needs.
Stay patient. It can get a lil congested here and there. Be nice and ignore the pushy people; Better yet, smile at them.
Buy some flowers. You deserve it.