(By Jenn Rapske)
I may be a holistic nutritionist and a total food nerd, and so it may be of no surprise…I LOVE THE FARMERS MARKET! I eagerly wait for Saturday morning to roll around, so I can enjoy my weekly almond milk latte while I shop my local farmers market. Some days, I almost have to pinch myself because I am so grateful to have access to many of the best local organic farmers and produce in town. Vancouver! We are blessed to live in this abundant city! I love the farmers market for so many reasons. Today, I’m going to share a few of them with you.
- Rotation & Variety. How many of you get bored with the same old grocery store hustle, looking at the same items week after week, trying to figure out what’s for dinner? It’s frustrating. I think part of the reason is because the seasons are not reflected in the grocery store. Nature is beautiful and generous in its offerings to us. Adopting local, seasonal eating habits connects us to those earthly rhythms, attuning our bodies more closely to our geography and climate. When we are disconnected from the seasons and shop the grocery store for all of our needs, we can get stuck eating the same foods all year round. Luckily, nature never intended this and provides us with an endless parade of foods that change from week to month to season. The point here is that by incorporating a monthly or even a weekly trip to your farmers market you will begin to eat locally and with the seasons. You will benefit from a natural rotation of foods in your diet as nature intended. This limits boredom and creates excitement when something new becomes available. But, beware! Eating with the seasons can create a mild and fleeting depression when it comes time to say goodbye to your favorite seasonal offerings, like the tangy rhubarb of spring. But how exciting it is, when you meet again the following year!
- Delicious, Fresh, & Nutritious. When we adopt a local, seasonal diet we have the opportunity to eat foods at the peak of their season. They are not picked raw and gassed to ripen to the grocer’s agenda, but are offered on nature’s timeline that answers only to the perfect harmony of germination and climate conditions. This means that our food travels less and because of this, it contains more nutrients. It is literally bursting with flavor! The most profound example of this point is sampling a grocery store Roma tomato from a far off country, and comparing it to a summer heirloom variety from the local farmers market. My guess is the grocery store option will need A LOT of salt, and the local heirloom will create a sense of euphoria. It might even turn you into an heirloom tomato cheerleader of sorts.
- Community. When was the last time you were able to listen to a local artist, pet a dog, say hi to a farmer, AND get your face painted, all the while checking off items on your grocery list? For me, this happens every Saturday…except for the face painting! But you catch my drift. Grocery and specialty food stores are a necessary part of modern life, as there are items we just can’t live without like avocados, lemons, and brown basmati rice. However, farmer’s markets are the light at the end of the monotonous grocery store tunnel. By shopping your local farmers market you not only support sustainable farming and local businesses, but also you will have fun and become an active participant in your community. Who knows, you might even make a few new friends?
If you’re a fan of the farmers market, you are already practicing an element of local, seasonal eating and reaping the many health-enhancing benefits. However, if you have not had the chance to experience your local farmers market yet, I’d highly recommend that you make a special trip. Our farmers markets boast the best produce the lower mainland has to offer. Here are some of my favourite stalls to visit at Vancouver Markets:
· Cropthorne Organics – Lots of great stuff but I particularly love the sweet carrots, beets, all leafy greens especially spinach, Swiss chard, and kale.
· Crisp Organics – Leeks, green onion, rhubarb, and more.
· Food Pedalers – Micro greens and wheat grass shots, especially the pea shoots.
· Jane’s Honey Bees – Raw Honey.
· Klippers Organic Acres – Apples, dried fruit, herbs, a variety of lettuce, and more.
· Nuez – Special treat – Organic plain and flavoured almond milk (rose water cardamom is delicious!).
· Spread’em – Cultured cashew cream cheese.
· Wild Foraged – Delicious, local seasonal finds like mushrooms, nettles, fiddleheads, and more.
P.S. If you see me shopping at a local farmers market, be sure to stop me and say hello. I love a good chat on a Saturday morning!
Hi, my name is Jenn and I am the new holistic nutritional consultant at Rooted Nutrition. I’ll be offering you a little piece of my world each month through the newsletter in the form of an article, a recipe, or a recommendation. I look forward to getting to know as many of you as I can in the Rooted Nutrition community. Please send me an email (email@example.com) if you have any questions or comments about my monthly newsletter offering or if you’d like to book a nutritional consultation.