Daily Choices

Shop a Farmers Market, Join a CSA

Support your local farmer!

Farm-fresh food, smiling faces, a sunny sky (hopefully!) — what better way to stock up for your week’s meals? The produce, cheeses, breads, eggs, flowers and even meats that you find at Montgomery County’s farmers markets are fresher and travel less distance than similar grocery store products. Often, they’re also produced with fewer chemical inputs and some are fully organic, an extra benefit for you and the environment.

Another option is to join a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, which is like a co-op. For a set seasonal fee, you get a “share” in each week’s harvest; you pick up your bags at a set time and place every week. It’s always fresh, and there’s always something surprising.

Either way, you’re supporting local growers, getting healthier, super-fresh food, and reducing the impact from food that often travels more than a thousand miles to reach your table.

 

An image of a paper shopping bag surrounded by local vegetables

Image credit: Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

 

Find a farmers market near you: the complete Montgomery County list with locations and hours.

Tour a Montgomery County farm during the Farm Tour & Harvest Sale.

Find a Montgomery County CSA and get news and tips about eating local.

Find a restaurant or store that features locally grown food.

Learn which produce has the highest pesticide levels — making organic a better choice — and which produce is safer. There’s even an app for that!

Find a local CSA on LocalHarvest.

Fresher, healthier, tastier food from local growers. Better for you, better for the environment.

If produce is “local,” does that mean it’s organic?

Only if it’s labeled “organic,” though at a farmers market that label might be a cardboard sign! Organic food is regulated and certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA); the rules are complex, but generally organic means that no synthetic inputs were used for at least three years in the fields where the produce was grown. The great thing about farmers markets and CSAs is you can actually talk to the farmers themselves and learn about their practices. And buying local means you’re supporting the local economy and reducing the environmental impact of transporting food great distances.

 

What are the health benefits of buying from a farmers market?

Buying your food at a farmers market will guarantee that the food is fresh. The food has generally been harvested that morning or the day before. It also will ensure that you are buying foods that are in season, which increases their nutrients and taste. The food you buy hasn’t had to travel very far either. This means that the food hasn’t been processed and the freshness makes it not only taste better but retain its nutrients.

 

Does shopping at a farmers market really help the environment that much?

According to the NRDC, even produce that is domestically grown travels (on average) 1,500 miles before being sold. That’s a lot of natural resources that are being used to transport food. Then add in the packaging that is used. Going to a farmers market eliminates a lot of the pollution and miles traveled to receive the food. It also greatly reduces the amount of packaging needed.

(1) Comments

  1. raingarden Jan 14, 2012

    Silver Diner has locally grown food. The Silver Diner menu includes hormone and antibiotic free chicken. Ask if people buy free range meat. Half of U.S. grain goes to feed beef, chickens.

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