Farmers Market Tips

Farmers market shopping tips

I hesitate every year about bringing this to light and sharing this story, but it must be told because the label of ‘healthy’ is being misconstrued so much it almost has its own zip code! Tip: if you are going to a local farmer’s market, be sure to drive past the farm and see what it looks like if you can.  If you are going to a farmer’s market in a city you are visiting or just randomly go to this location, see if there is an information desk to get a printout of the farms and where they are located. Why is this important?  Chemicals!
Watch out for:

  • They may be spraying some or all their land and not reveal it on their signs.
  • They may not be spraying but the neighbor may be, and it is air, dust, and water born, thus spreading to the adjoining farms.
  • There may be chemical plants, gas stations, or other industry just down the road, around the corner, or down wind and all that pollution must go somewhere.

Detailed questions to also ask if you want to know:

  • Are there animals grazing where the plants are growing?
  • What are the animals fed?
  • How are the animals used for food?
  • Are the crops rotated?
  • Where does the water come from that you water the plants?
  • What happens when you have a pest infestation?
  • Who do you use to harvest the fields?
  • How long since you picked the particular items that are for sale at today’s market?
  • Where do you store the crops when you pick them?
  • Are flowers growing in your fields and do you spray them?

Why do I bring up these questions?
I live in New Orleans, and I went to a local farmer’s market that was on the bank of the Mississippi River.  Locals profess and preach their food is the best because it is the soil and silt from the river that is growing their food so large and productive, just as their ancestors have done for eons before.  Yet, the river is the most polluted water way in the US, and it is loaded with chemicals from the entire country as tributaries from Canada to the Gulf, and East to West dump into waterways. Even on the banks of the river in the state of Louisiana have some of the highest polluters within feet of the levees, chemical plants, and industry that other states do not want around.

Getting back to the farmer’s market story, the vendor has broccoli and cauliflower heads that were twice the size of my head, and he was very proud of it.  I smiled and asked where his farm was, he pointed in a general direction and said, ‘just over there on the river’.  Well, the over there yonder, in the sights of his directional finger, was the plant that makes plastics and another for weed killer.  I purchased one head of broccoli, put it on my counter and just watched it for a week.  It did not change, no wilting, no browning, and just sitting there.  I could not bring myself to eat it, knowing, there was no way this plant was grown in a healthy bubble that I defined and would be good to nourish my body.

Take this story, ask questions, do not take words as ‘the truth’ for you, find out for yourself.   Your body will thank you and the diseases that come with toxin exposure will not visit your doorstep.