This list makes good points about just how beneficial farmer’s markets and CSAs are for communities, local economies, and the environment. I would like to add a few more points, with some insight about farmer’s markets and CSAs from a health perspective.
The greatest benefit of visiting these markets is discovering when foods are available. We learn just how fleeting, yet wonderful it is to be inundated with foods such as berries and peaches for a few weeks throughout the year. We also learn about the vegetables and foods that can be stored (onions, cabbages, and apples for example) for longer periods of time. There are others that are available in both the spring and the fall such as greens and root vegetables.
—Shopping at farmer’s markets and eating local foods help us build a stronger connection with nature and brings awareness of the seasonal changes.
—Eating local becomes a useful guide for health, showing us when to eat certain foods and for what period of time.
—When local foods are also indigenous to the climate, we get the most health benefit. The macrobiotic definition of indigenous foods are foods that grow along the same latitude lines as opposed to the country of origin of a food.
In many cases with CSAs, the vegetables you receive may not be the healthiest. Just because a vegetable is popular does not mean it is healthy. Even health-conscious people may not know what the healthiest vegetables are during any given season. If you are close with the farmer in your CSA or at the farmer’s markets, I always encourage you to make requests or offer recommendations.
—roots: burdock, carrot, daikon, parsnip
—roots with greens: daikon, carrot, radish, turnip
—rounds: onions, turnips, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, winter squashes, sweet potato, dried shiitake
—leafy green: Napa cabbage, bok choy, leeks, watercress, arugula, kale, mustard, and collards
—Try one new vegetable each week to increase your repertoire of healthy, seasonal vegetables.
—Health-enhancing styles for this season and winter include:
—steaming directly in the pot with a small amount of water and possibly a tiny pinch of sea salt (depending on the vegetable)
—Denser winter squashes, such as buttercup and kabocha, provide the most health benefit.
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