Local Farmer’s Markets
Today we see a lot of commercial companies and franchises. In fact, every major highway has a ton of chain restaurants and fast food joints. While these places are beneficial for convenience purposes, they are not always the smartest choice when it comes to our health. Especially during times like these, when our economy is struggling, it is important to support the businesses that need it the most. Shopping locally allows us to support small businesses that rely on it and, most times, you get a higher quality of goods and services.
Here in Toms River we have a surplus of small businesses that need our support, now more than ever. An easy way to begin supporting local businesses is by visiting farmer’s markets. We all need food so why not get it locally grown?! Many people believe that locally grown produce is expense when in reality it’s not. Locally grown produce is the freshest produce that you can get. When you visit a food store, usually a chain, you are not getting the quality that you would get at a farmer’s market or stand.
As we’ve mentioned in the past, we are a direct representation of what we eat. The foods that we eat not only affect our physical well being, but also our mental well being. For example, consuming a surplus of fast and processed foods can commonly lead an individual feeling foggy and maybe even drowsy. Whereas, eating whole, unprocessed foods can lead to individuals feeling energized and happy. While consuming fresh, organic, and whole foods can be beneficial to our bodies, they are sometimes hard to find in food stores. When you shop in bigger corporations you never truly know exactly where your food has been. However, when you shop locally at a farmer’s markers, you know exactly what you are getting.
Here are some benefits to eating fresh, whole, and locally grown foods:
- When you eat local foods, you know exactly what you are getting. When you buy produce from the food store you do not know exactly what these foods were sprayed with or planted in. When you purchase local, you will be able to first hand ask what and if any additional agents were used when growing your food.
- Shopping locally for your food allows you to feel more connected to the food you are purchasing. It is comforting to think that the produce came straight from the Earth and now into your kitchen rather than the food being harvested, packaged, and shipped from miles away. Shopping at a farmer’s market gives you a sense of comfort knowing where your food was and where it is going next.
- Eating whole, fresh foods can reduce the risk of an individual developing a number of chronic diseases: heart disease, cancer, and even type 2 diabetes.
- You get a wide variety of nutrients when you eat whole foods. Fresh produce is packed with vitamins and nutrients that our body and mind need to function at its best.
- Having a healthy diet full of fruits and veggies can lead to improving cognitive function. This includes improving concentration, memory, and even mood. Eating whole, fresh foods can lead to having an overall happier mindset, ultimately decreasing the risk for developing depression.
It is clear to see that eating locally grown foods are the way to go, especially this time of year. It not only benefits our health, but it supports the farmers who are hard at work to keep food coming to our tables.
Below is a list of just a handful of local farmer’s markets that you and your family can visit this summer:
- Del’s Farm Market in Toms River
- Jerry’s Farm Market in Seaside Heights
- Big Ed’s Produce in Lavallette
- Moore’s Farm Market in Bayville
- Berry Fresh Farms in Brick
- Silverton Farms in Toms River
- Charlie’s Market in Normandy Beach
- Cedar Post Farm Market in Lakehurst
This is just a short list of the many farmer’s markets that you can support. Most towns have their own community farmer’s market. Research your town to see what farmer’s markets are near you. These markets are open strictly on the weekends or on a specific day of the week. This way you can see which farmer’s market is best for you to visit and support. If you want, bring the family for a day trip and get the kids involved in picking out their own fruits and veggies. This is a great way to get them to eat produce since they picked it themselves. Supporting these businesses makes a world of a difference. It’s time that we start to think globally and act locally. Supporting local businesses in your town may not only help not your neighbors and small business owners, but also your own physical and mental health.