By Megan Reece Thomas
Here’s a way you can not only get in some extra physical activity in the warm summer sun, but fuel your body to be a well functioning machine. The benefits of shopping at a farmers market have been touted here in the past, but the message is worth repeating.
Right now the markets will be brimming with everything from fresh herbs and arugula, to tomatoes, peaches, beets and melons. You can get all of this in the grocery store, but what difference does it make getting it from the farmers market, you might ask? For starters, produce sold at the markets is fresh, local and just-picked. Produce that is so fresh has not been confined to a refrigerated truck while it travels cross-country (or cross-globally) to your grocery store shelf. Produce that travels has had far more time to lose nutrients.
If you live an active lifestyle, you automatically have an increased need for antioxidants. Physical activity is great for your figure, heart and lungs, bones and overall health. It does lead to an increased amount of free radicals in the body, however. Free radicals can cause diseases such as cancer if they are not neutralized. What neutralizes free radicals? Antioxidants, especially those found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables. These little particles are rich in fresh produce that has been very recently picked. Therefore, your local farmers’ market is an amazing resource for cancer-fighting fruits and veggies!
Berthoud’s market is on Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Longmont’s market runs on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Both markets tout a variety of local growers and food producers. Their convenient locations and festival-like atmospheres make the markets fun places for a family outing.
Next Saturday, gather your family or a group of friends and hit a market. Aim to walk the displays several times. This way, you can fit in some more activity and increase your health in that manner. Another advantage to a slow cruise is to save extra money. If you keep your money in your wallet for the first couple of passes, you can make visual and mental notes of what produce looks the best, which prices are most affordable and how you can fit the produce into your weekly meals.
Once you have decided which fruits and veggies look and sound the most delicious, decide which grower from which to buy. This might mean going to several stands depending on who has what available, but then you will be able to get the best deal on the produce you will actually use. Look for the best price per bag or pound.
Finally, ask questions. If you want to know anything about a grower’s methods, or if you need ideas on how to use the produce, the folks manning their stands are the people to talk to. They live and breathe fruits and vegetables and are full of great ideas.
So, put on some comfortable shoes, gather up some loved ones and prepare for an action-packed, healthful and delicious day.