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  • Writer's pictureCheryl Patella

Where you can get a true farm to table experience.

Updated: Apr 12

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 and of the best quality. 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. First crop of the season is sometimes lacking so they don’t sell it because it is their livelihood and they provide the best for their customers. When spring hits the market open with tons of quality products. Each market is different so shop around for the things that work for you. All the delicious seasonal foods and at good prices. The vegetables and fruits never tasted so good. 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 because they have perfected their growing process. 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!

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 its 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.

Maybe you aren’t into growing your own but you can buy fresh and cook, and make your own teas and drinks. The flavor and health benefits are worlds apart! The difference between packaged store bought and artisan cheese is amazing! It’s a different & longer process with a better quality of ingredients used. Well worth it!

Here is a “butterfly plant”. The joy it gives me to look at these flowers was way worth the trip to the market. These are the quality moments that should filter our lives to provide a deeper, richer experience.

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 your world you may not have had the opportunity to experience in the past.

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