Santa Fe Farmers’ Market The Many Benefits of Shopping Here
by Alexis I. Brown
rom savoring produce at the peak of freshness to meeting the people who grow your food, there are many reasons to shop at farmers’ markets. Locally grown food tastes and looks better, and is better for you. The crops are picked at their peak and farmstead products like cheeses are hand-crafted for best flavor. Much of the food you find in chain grocery stores is highly processed and often grown with pesticides, hormones and antibiotics. Some have even been irradiated or coated in wax. Because this food is processed many weeks before it is purchased, it loses a lot of the nutrients. University of California studies show that vegetables can lose 15 to 90 percent of nutrients within one week after harvest. Food sold at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market ripens fully in the field and is picked the week it is sold—many vendors harvest the day before Market! All of the Market products are the freshest and tastiest available, whether it be fruits and vegetables, breads, or meats and dairy. Not only does produce at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market taste better, it lasts longer and has less of an impact on the environment. Most produce in chain grocery stores is picked at least 4 to 7 weeks before reaching the shelves, and it is shipped an average of 1,500 miles before being sold. And this only takes into account food produced in the U.S. The time and distance traveled is much greater for the foods imported from Central and South Americas, Asia and other places. All this shipping uses large amounts of natural resources (like oil and gas), creates trash with extra packaging, and contributes to the pollution of land, water and air. Consumers even need to be aware of the "Buy Local" labels used at chain health food stores as they consider "local" within 400 miles. The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market features vendors from the northern 15 counties; their food is "Truly Local" because it travels an average of 50 miles to be sold. In addition to the health and environmental benefits, shopping at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market is a huge benefit to the local economy. For every dollar spent at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market, three times as much is reinvested into your community
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