Farmers’ Market Season Has Arrived

Farmers’ markets can allow you to support local farmers while getting fresh produce. The produce that you’re buying has been picked much closer to the optimal time because it doesn’t need to travel for a long time or for long distances. The markets also help the environment because travel time and, therefore, the use of fossil fuels, is reduced for locally grown items. In addition, many of the vendors have organic produce, which also helps the environment because many farm chemicals are made from fossil fuels.

Typically, fruits and vegetables grown locally and sold at farmers’ markets are picked just as they ripen so they have a better taste, texture and aroma at the time of purchase. In addition, since the produce is picked at the peak of the season, it will have a higher nutritional content and contain more phytochemicals (plant-derived chemicals believed to have beneficial health effects) than non-local produce purchased at a supermarket.

There is a great variety of types of vendors at a farmers’ market. When shopping, consider whether the vendor is actually from a farm or is re-selling items that could have been purchased, and shipped, from anywhere. Ask questions about how and where the produce is grown. There are many farmers who have organic practices, but don’t pay for an official certification. They are generally very proud of their farming practices and will be happy to give you information.

There are many markets in the St. Louis area. The Saint Louis Post-Dispatch recently published a comprehensive list, including locations, hours, and other details. See the link: http://www.stltoday.com/lifestyles/food-and-cooking/your-guide-to-area-farmers-markets/article_569b82bd-1ccf-5d4a-996c-3148b0a03876.html to find a market that’s convenient for you. In addition, Creve Coeur now has a farmers’ market. Details are at www.creve-coeur.org/mar

This post originally appeared in www.jewishinstlouis.org

Gail Wechsler is the Director of Domestic Issues/Social Justice at the Jewish Community Relations Council of St. Louis. She is the staff person for the Jewish Environmental Initiative (JEI), a committee of the JCRC and a part of the JCRC's Bohm Social Justice Initiative.
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