Farmers' Markets Offer Health Benefits
A Prairie Home Companion’s host, Garrison Keillor once proclaimed, “Sex is good. But not as good as fresh sweet corn.”
Farmers’ Markets are beginning to open and with them, the opportunity to experience the delight and health benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables.
The USDA reports that fresh, local produce is at its peak in flavor and nutrition. Right now, you might be able to get asparagus, strawberries and rhubarb at the local farmers’ market. You’ll have to wait till summer to get some sweet corn of the caliber Mr. Keillor is talking about.
The American Fitness Index includes the number of farmers’ markets per capita as a factor contributing to healthier communities, using it as an indicator for community members’ access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Market managers report that 45% of the produce sold at farmers’ markets is organic, and more than 30% is chemical-free and pesticide-free.
In addition to the great health benefits from the fruits and vegetables, a study by the Project for Public Spaces revealed that just BEING at the market can be good for you! People who shop at farmers’ markets have 15-20 social interactions per visit, while they would only have one or two per visit to the grocery store. Because social interaction can have positive effects on health, the social space at farmers markets has important public health implications.