Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How Farmers Markets Benefit the Consumer by Ariana Bray-Sweet

Farmers Markets have many benefits beyond helping the food desert problem. Did you know that the average grocery item must travel 1,300 miles just to get from the field to your table (WSFMA)? Furthermore, most produce is harvested while it is still immature so that it can withstand travel better. You could also be eating ethylene gas, which is used to treat some fruits and vegetables to make them look ripe, but the appearance doesn’t mean it tastes ripe (WSFMA)!

Many people would be shocked to find out that the quality of fresh fruits and vegetables begin to decline right after harvest. Broccoli loses 1/3 of its vitamin C in two days and by the time Mexican asparagus gets to Seattle, it has already lost 2/3 of its vitamins (WSFMA).

When shopping at a Farmers Market, the majority of the time the produce was harvested hours before arriving at the market. Many people believe that shopping at a farmers market might be more expensive than a grocery store, but a national survey of 15 cities found that the food items were cheaper at a farmers market a whopping 91 percent of the time (WSFMA)! When a dollar is spent at a farmers market, the farmer keeps the entire dollar. When selling to grocery stores, a farmer only sees a percentage of that dollar. This allows the consumer to save money by buying directly from the farmer. Next time you need fresh produce, get real freshness at your Farmers Market instead of foods that have already lost the majority of their vitamins and nutrients. You’ll find that it tastes better, you’re supporting your local economy, and you could save money! Try supporting your local Farmers Market or try to get one set up if you don’t already have one.

All Information Derived From: Washington State Farmers Market Association Informational Handbook: http://www.wafarmersmarkets.com/info/market_info_handbook.html

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