Farmers’ Markets Booming in Bad Economy
Looking for a way to save a buck while buying healthier foods and supporting your regional economy? It’s simple: visit your local farmer’s market. All over the world farmers’ markets are helping people get through this economic crunch while satisfying the need for foods that will keep you healthy.
The continuing rise of these small, open-air markets is an encouraging sign of authentic social interaction, while keeping the prices down and travel-time low. Farmer’s markets used to be only found in rural areas and overlooked by city dwellers. But times are changing: the fact that these are rising up in our urban and suburban culture speaks to our need for freshness, authenticity and also our need to save a buck when buying healthier foods.
In Missouri, it was reported that the 2009 farmer’s market opened with record-breaking numbers. At one market, more than 1200 customers visited and 31 vendors put up booths. Those who showed up the opening day reported they did for the love of the food, also wanting to support the local farmers and economy. “Missouri has a lot to offer in the way of locally-grown products, and I think that’s probably the reason why we’re open so long,” Market Manager Caroline Todd told a local paper.
According to the Vancouver Sun in Canada, a new study says more people are shopping at farmers markets, and they are spending more money on each visit. The study, published in February by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development, notes that average spending per visit to farmers markets has risen 30 percent, up to $45 per visit in 2008, compared with $35 in 2004. Annual spending per household rose for farmers markets from $317 to $449.
On a nutrition standpoint, your local farmers’ market will provide many healthy foods at very cheap costs. When choosing fruits and vegetables at your local farmers market, go for all the colors in the rainbow. Here are some examples to keep in mind when shopping at your farmers’ market:
Reds, such as strawberries, tomatoes, watermelon and cherries, contain Lycopene and Anthocyanin, which prevents certain cancers and strengthens collagen proteins.
Oranges, such as carrots, squash and melons, contain Beta Carotene and Liminoids, which protects against bronchitis, asthma, cataracts and lung cancer. There are also known to reduce cholesterol levels.
Yellows, such as yellow peppers and corn, contain Liminoids, Beta Carotene and Zeaxanthin, which protects vision and prevents colon and breast cancer.
Greens, such as spinach, collard greens, broccoli and tomatillos, contain Lutein, Saponins and Glucosinolates, which protects vision, prevents cancer, lowers lipid levels and maintains a healthy heart and skin.
Blues, such as blueberries, grapes and plums, contain Anthocyanin, which prevents colon, cervical and prostate cancers.
Purples, such as grapes, raspberries, blackberries and eggplant, contain Anthocyanin, which prevents cancer and are anti-inflammatory.
Besides providing lower priced and healthy food, your downtown farmer’s market has a simple initiative: to benefit the grower, consumer and community by providing a niche market that meets the individual needs of the consumer and grower. Let’s keep this trend going, while catering to our healthy food needs and supporting our local farmers.
About the author: Ron Lieback is a staff writer for SpicesInc.com and has had numerous articles appear in a variety of magazines and websites covering health, recreation and community related subjects. His favorite hobby is racing his motorcycle. Ron can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.