Why settle for a bland supermarket tomato when there are more than 7,000 farmers' markets in the United States filled with heirloom varieties that make your taste buds soar? For little more effort than it takes you to drive to the grocery store, you could be eating a ripe red tomato harvested that very same day. Or a perfect peach. Or savory herbs. Or artisanal breads and cheeses made by hand by food craftspeople. Or any number of other fresh produce and locally made foods.
Buying fresh-picked produce is not only tastier, but often more nutritious, since foods shipped long distances can lose nutrients over time. And there's nothing like savoring the variety of locally made artisanal foods.
Your purchase will also help the local economy, since your food expenditure won't be going to a national corporation but a local resident and his or her workers. Because local farmers' markets cut out the middlemen, most of every dollar spent goes straight to the people who grow your food. In a conventional grocery store, growers receive less than 10 cents on the dollar.
Finally, buying locally produced foods helps preserve open space, rural landscapes and if crops are grown using organic methods healthy local ecosystems. Working landscapes are a bulwark against sprawl and often add significantly to a community's property values.
A bonus reason: It's Farmers Market Week from Aug 7-13, 2011.
Check the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farmers' Market search engine to find one near you, or use the "Get Local Info" box on The Daily Green's homepage to get local results, powered by Local Harvest.
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