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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Patella

Farm To Table - Shop Your local Farmer's Market - Healthier and Cost Effective

Updated: Mar 30

We all want to eat well, be healthier, have energy and make better food choices – right?.  Mainstream food has lost much of its nutritional value, taste, and quality.

We are living in a world where “more is better”.  To increase the “more” in production results in the loss of quality along with the nutritional value food is supposed to provide for our bodies.  Have we forgotten that food is fuel for our bodies?  Do you put high test in your body or choose the cheapest and quickest fuel?  It’s a fact many of us live on a budget and can’t always pay more but a local Farmer’s Market provides quality with lower cost than the local supermarket as they don’t have the overhead commercial businesses have. Going to your local Farmer’s Market makes sense!  You have a higher nutritional value, tastes better, is a pleasant experience and supports local farmers.  Locals grow organically, have higher nutritional value and their quality is better. They are proud of what they create and you can taste it in every bite.  Most will not bring products until they are at their best.  If the first crop of the season is lacking they don’t sell it because it is their livelihood and they want to provide the best for their customers. When spring hits the market opens with tons of quality products.  Each market is different and depending on the region it may be seasonally open.  So shop around for what works for you.  All the delicious seasonal foods and at good prices.  The vegetables and fruits never tasted so good.  There are bread, cheese and mushroom artisans.  Varieties you will never see in one store. One of the best parts of shopping at a local Farmer’s Market is the knowledge you receive when talking to the vendor.  Only growers are allowed to sell at our market. They know their product.  I have learned so much with each visit.  In speaking with the vendor they share the best ways to cook the item and occasionally another customer will jump in and share their recipe.  It’s fun, educational and social!

Maybe you aren’t into growing your own but you can buy and cook fresh grown.  You can also make your own teas and drinks.  The flavor and health benefits are worlds apart!

The difference between packaged store and artisan cheese is amazing!  All of the prepared foods at the market use a higher quality ingredient and you can taste it. Well worth it!  But you will never know if you don't at least try a Farmer's Market - right? Mushrooms – who knew there were so many varieties with great benefits.  Brain health, longevity, boost your immunity and other incredible health benefits.

When speaking with my clients about their wellness program we often discuss what, when and how much they eat.  Frequently I hear “I didn’t get a chance to eat breakfast today – I need to go to the store”.  Or “We were out of this or that and so I made this – I know it's not the best for me but…” If you are serious about reaching your goals and taking a stand for your health then you need to be prepared.  If you want to buy a Ferrari or a Jaguar but go to the car dealer with the money that will only purchase a used, off-market model then what are you going to get?  We must make an investment in our health and part of that is keeping the right foods stocked, prep and plan your meals.  Meals are not just “fast food” or thrown together.  Not when your health depends on your eating and your body needs quality fuel.  How about this:  you are going out to a wonderful event, or that restaurant you have been wanting to go to.  Do you just throw on some jeans and a tee shirt or do you think about what you are going to wear?  Do you take a few minutes to clean up to look and feel your best? You are prepping and planning.  Isn’t your health – something to last a lifetime – worth the same prepping and planning? So how do you find this incredible Farmers Market where you live?  That’s the thing – so many people are realizing the need for locally grown that they are popping up everywhere! There are 4 or 5 right near me.  I prefer the Gainesville Saturday Farmer’s Market.  I have come to know some of the vendors, the varieties of foods I didn’t know about and it’s also a great way to meet people - interesting people. Last week I arrived early and several of us waited together talking about so many wonderful things.  I met a photography professor from the University of Florida, a lovely lady from Australia who relocated here, and another charming woman who shared her extra bags for products with me. Recently walking by a stand I saw these foot long purple things that turned out to be Japanese Egg Plants. The vendor explained how to cook them and they were delicious! Just a little garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper and broil or grill. The eggplant was so smooth - like mashed potatoes.  That is because the flesh is more creamy.  The skin was very edible.  Not as tough as regular egg plant. Japanese eggplant is a low-calorie, low-sodium food that’s packed with tons of vitamins.  With only 20 calories, the Japanese eggplant is a healthy fruit that can help you get your daily dose of fiber (which is great for digestion and gut health). Eggplant also has zeaxanthin and lutein, which have both been shown to help prevent age-related vision loss.

Here is a “butterfly plant”.  The joy it gives me to look at these flowers was way worth the trip to the market.  Have you ever seen such an exquisite creation? These are the quality moments that should filter our lives to provide a deeper, richer experience. I have shown pictures of a few products but there is so much more: meats, poultry, cow, goat and sheep's milk, breads, every fruit and vegetable in season, honey, soaps, and still more!  Al organically grown and healthier products. So open up your internet browser and type in local Farmer’s Markets near me.  You may have to try out one or two to find the right one for you.  But once you do, you will keep going back!  It will add something special to your life and open up aspects of life you may not have had the opportunity to experience in the past. For my clients up north I found 5 Farmer's Markets on Long Island;  in New York City the Union Square Greenmarket is the largest but there are many others; for those in the Woodstock area there are several including Woodstock Farmer's Market and Sunflower; and for my Miami clients the Coconut Grove Farmer's Market is probably the original but there are many more in areas like Upper Eastside, Coral Gables, South Beach, Pinecrest and Aventura. Wherever you live there is probably a great Farmer's Market near you - perhaps seasonal but one you should visit for a healthier and happier life!

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