As a mental health counselor, I firmly believe that a healthy mind and a healthy body are inseparable. Research shows that replacing processed food with real, nutrient-dense, whole foods can reduce anxiety and depression. Make food your medicine!
I love to hit local farmer’s markets on the weekends in the search for new ways to incorporate these foods in our family’s diet. When I first started this habit, I felt a little lost. I wasn’t sure what to buy, how to cook unfamiliar vegetables, or what was in season. I needed a guide to direct me through the available produce options. And who knows “real food” better than the person who grows it? Exactly.
Here’s what to ask your local farmer on your next trip.
What is Best Right Now?
Your farmer can tell you what was picked and when so that you get food at its freshest, ripest, and most delicious. You can also avoid getting a dud (although if you do, most farmers will give you a credit the next time you drop by).
Can I Try It?
Many times, samples are already cut and available, but if not, don’t be afraid to ask. This is how I first discovered persimmons (seriously, have you tried these?), apricots, and rainbow carrots (baby carrots are for suckers) Thank you TJ Farms in Phoenix!.
How do YOU Prepare This?
We recently had eggplant night with minimal drama. These eggplant sticks are delicious and nutritious.Not a big fan of mushrooms? Never cooked with radishes? Your farmer can give you great suggestions on good prep ideas. If they are growing it, they’re likely eating it too! I also find creative and delicious recipe ideas on the skinnytaste blog. Gina has a recipe for everything.
Is It Local?
This seems like a weird question to ask. But if you see bananas at your local farmer’s market, they likely aren’t from your local farmer-especially if you live in Arizona (Hello Desert). Most bananas are imported from Latin America and the Caribbean. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy them. But if you are trying to eat locally sourced foods or if you are wanting to reduce your environmental impact, you may decide to go with the peaches instead.
Do You Have Any Deals On “Rescued” or “Last Minute” Produce?
Many farmers will offer discounts at the end of the day for unsold or blemished produce. One local farmer in my area (Shout Out to McClellan Farms!) has an “End of the Week” market where he discounts his remaining produce 30%-50%! The selection is less, but it is still usually just as delicious!
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