Hey Food Finders!
The BEST of healthy eating in the summer all comes together at your local outdoor Farmer's Market. You will find all of the most natural, non-GMO, chemical free offerings from local farmers, bakers, holistic body care creators, winemakers, grass fed and pastured meat and eggs purveyors, wild seafood sellers, herbal iced tea mixers, natural cheese makers, and even my favorite - the Pickle Man! The Farmer's Market in your area might have different booths than I list below, but if you are living a healthy lifestyle you can't go wrong with a weekly trip to get the freshest ingredients!
First things first, you have to check out the colorful, ripe, and fresh fruits and vegetables planted, cared for, picked, and sold by your local farmers. Some of them have organic goods and some of them don't, but even the ones that don’t usually use low levels of pesticides on their produce. Feel free to ask them about their practices. They are used to these questions, so don’t be shy.
On my most recent trip to my local Farmer's Market, I found the most gorgeous bright red strawberries and tomatoes, purple baby eggplants, red beets, fresh sweet corn, crisp green scallions and zucchinis, bright orange carrots, pink radishes, earthy portobellos, multi-colored lettuces and potatoes, yellow beans and summer squash, gorgeous orange peaches, deep violet blueberries, and velvety dark red cherries. Take a look around and you will be find a ton of produce to go home with that excites and inspires you!
There is always at least one baker at every Farmer's Market, if not multiple! You will usually find plenty of breads and baked goods that are all-natural, often using organic ingredients and/or are gluten free. The bakers at my local Farmer's Market have an entire gluten free section with all sorts of breads, cakes, cookies, and pies. There are also baked goods that use whole wheat, buckwheat, spelt, amaranth, and a whole host of grains in their fresh and delicious baked goods. It’s so fun to try new things! These bakers really take special care to make a wide variety of products that are full of healthy nutrition, taste amazing, and meet the needs of those with diet restrictions.
I haven’t been to a farmers market yet that didn’t have somebody selling bee products. There are so many health benefits that are attributed to bee products such as increasing energy and it's antiviral and antibiotic properties. Fresh and raw honey from wildflowers and clovers abound, as well as bee pollen, and even moisturizers made from bee products to soothe the skin are sold. I never thought I liked honey until I tried unprocessed honey straight from the bees. It’s a whole different flavor and it's so delicious. To me, it is worth a few points and calories to have this in my tea during the winter months, protecting me from colds and flus. Once you taste honey from a local beekeeper, you will never buy honey from the supermarket again!
The Pickle Stand
The pickle stand is one of my favorite booths to stop at! They always have samples of everything that they make. Their pickles are fantastic and there is a huge variety, but there are also pickled mushrooms (which I LOVE), pickled peppers, pickled carrots, pickled cauliflower, a variety of olives, and more! Try all the samples you want, because if you like pickles, you will not leave this booth empty handed. The great thing about these pickled veggies is that they last months in your fridge, if you can keep them that long without eating them all up! You can even reuse the leftover pickling juices to pickle a small batch of veggies of your own!
Fresh Fish, Grass Fed Meat, and Pastured Eggs & Dairy
Farmer's Market's are not just for vegetarian and vegan diets! At many Farmer's Markets you will find a booth selling all types of fresh and wild caught fish. Bring some home and cook it up alongside your gorgeous produce for an incredibly fresh, healthy, and unforgettable meal. I also love the booth where I can buy fresh pastured eggs and grass fed meats of all kinds. These are healthier than many of the varieties you will find in your grocery store. You can also find the best locally made cheeses made from a wide variety of milks, in small batches, and cultivated with care.
And Don’t Forget...
The Jams and Jellies Booth, full of delicious fruits and all-natural ingredients, the winemakers with their organic sulfate-free wine, the organic olive oil maker who creates products from centuries old practices, the herbal tea alchemist who made the MOST delicious mixes of herbal iced teas on this earth! (My favorites are the Pineapple Hibiscus and Blood Orange Hibiscus), and the all-natural handmade bath and body care products booth whose products are made with the most luscious natural oils, butters, and creams to make your skin glow and velvety soft!
You might have live music, a fiddle player walking around, and the cutest puppy to ever cross your path! Go with a friend or meet new friends there! There is always a sense of community at a local farmers market. You feel like you are all in this together, helping to create better health and a healthier planet.
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