by Contributing Author: Sharon A. See
I’m so excited to be appearing for the first time in this week’s market newsletter. You’ll be hearing from me throughout this market season. There is a wonderfully passionate group of volunteers whose time and energy bring you a wonderful market experience each week. As a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I’m so happy to be contributing to this effort by providing you with what I hope you’ll find to be helpful articles and fun facts for making the most of your visits to the market. And I welcome your feedback. If you have market or healthy eating related topics you’d like to hear more about or questions you’d like answered, please feel free to let me know. See the end of the article for ways to contact me.
So, why should you visit the Monroe Farmers' Market?
Fresh is Best
The farm fresh fruits, veggies and other delectable items you’ll find at the market are packed with vitamins and minerals. The produce you find at the market is grown close to the market site and is often picked within hours of market time. This allows the fruit or vegetable to ripen naturally on the mother plant. This freshness means all the live vitamins, minerals, and digestive supporting enzymes are still intact giving you a huge boost in nutrition over store bought produce. And this just picked goodness means a more flavorful product that will last longer and be less inclined to spoil quickly. Unless you grow your own, you can’t beat market fresh produce.
Grocery stores have lots of overhead expenses that get passed along to you the consumer. Distribution and transportation costs are also factored into the price you pay at the register. When you buy direct at the market from the farmer or producer you save money. The farmers and other vendors at the Monroe market don’t have lots of overhead and transportation costs to pass along to you. You’re cutting out the middle guys and getting a better price for a higher quality product. And, many of the Monroe market’s farmers practice sustainable farming which means limited use of pesticides and chemicals which gives you a cleaner, healthier product at a substantial savings over buying organic at the grocery store.
Fun Family Time
What better way to teach your children about the healthy benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables than with a trip to the Monroe Farmers Market. A family trip to the market is a wonderful teaching opportunity to show children where their food comes from and to introduce them to the farmers who grow their food. Studies show that engaging children in the process of planning and preparing meals helps them to make better food choices when they are away from home and can have a role in preventing obesity. It also can be helpful in expanding the palate of picky eaters. You can encourage them to try the delicious samples that the market vendors have to offer. And it doesn’t have to be only about the fruits and veggies for the kids—there are many fun kids’ activities at the market for the children to enjoy.
Best Fast Food in Town
Fridays are very busy days in our household, especially in the summer months when the kids are out of school and we’re playing all day at the beach or lake. Instead of grabbing something unhealthy to eat on the way home or going out to eat, we stop by the market at the end of the day. The kids get to play and have fun with the kids’ activities while I grab just about everything we need for a quick and healthy meal. Some weeks it’s fresh basil, mozzarella and sliced tomato appetizer, specialty pasta sauce to which I add some broccoli or fresh peppers, a sweet baked treat or Italian ice for dessert and a bottle of wine for the grown-ups. I boil up some pasta (the only thing I don’t get at the market) when we get home and voila…we have a simple, quick, healthy family meal. Sometimes instead of the pasta, we’ll order a pizza from the pizza truck and I’ll pick up lettuce and fresh salad veggies for another quick and easy meal option. Give it a try!
Support Local Business
Giving your business to local farmers and producers has far-reaching benefits to your community. When you buy from the vendors at the market your dollars stay local. The farmers and producers at the market, in turn, spend that money on other local products and services. Supporting local agriculture also helps to preserve farmland and open space in your community. Local farms are often a family run business that practices sustainable farming which preserves the land for use by future generations. And there is something to be said for knowing where your food comes from. Get to know the vendors at the market and learn about how they farm or produce their goods. You can learn some really interesting facts about how your food is grown and ways to make healthier choices for you and your family.
I look forward to bumping into you at the market on Friday. Please take the time to say hello and introduce yourself.
Sharon A. See
Certified Holistic Health Coach
You can find me and other interesting articles, resources and recipes at www.vitalizedwellness.com.
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The Monroe Farmers' Market is open June–October and offers fresh, locally-grown produce, baked goods, prepared foods and hand-crafted specialty foods to Connecticut locals.