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Farmer’s Markets: Supporting Your Health and Community

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I have active boys. Some might say really active boys. So this summer, my husband and I were planning weekly fun activities and family excursions to keep them busy. As a former home-schooler, I always like to sneak in an educational perspective as well.

Peaches in a wood basket at Farmer's Market

We decided we wanted to learn more about sustainability and nutrition in our meals, so we planned to tour a few local farms and vineyards. As a former wellness coach, I know just enough about nutrition to make me dangerous. We were special needs parents and now have our youngest son (11) on a gluten free diet. My husband is Greek, so cooking is in his DNA. We enjoy the food shopping as much as the preparation, and have been instilling that love in our boys. Or trying to anyway.

One of our favorite trips this summer was to a famous Jacksonville icon, the Beaver Street Farmer’s Market. Why go to a farmer’s market when we can find much of this at the store? I have underlined a few reasons.

Why Go to a Farmer's Market?

1. Access to Fresh, Live Fruits and Vegetables

So many people are becoming more aware of the importance of eating fresh, LIVE fruits and vegetables, and with a market like this in close proximity, it is much more accessible to the average person to save money in their budget and learn about the local varieties. Only certain types of produce can withstand long travel, but locally, we get a much more comprehensive variety and better taste!

2. Local Participation

Since 1938, it has been a part of the First coast culture, and now they are planning a tremendous expansion. With the future build-out, there will more opportunity for local business-owners to participate and grow, (farmers as well as vendors) with plant sales, (I am thinking wonderful, propagating herbs!) artisans and LIVE music, more organic farmers, and teaching demonstrations from local chefs and cooking celebrities.

And any suthun event includes Cajun boiled peanuts.

son at farmers market

My 11 year old’s favorite spot in the heat…

Son putting face in front of fan

3. Variety

Buy local honey. It contains the perfect ingredients for allergy prevention specific to your local region. This one came from Lake City, not too far away.

honey in glass jars

Fresh muscadines have some of the highest anti-oxidants on the planet, although the nutrients are in the skins and seeds, which most people spit out. We normally eat the extracts, but bought these anyway, just to try for fun.

Fresh muscadines

Yep…still hard to chew. But they taste wonderful.

4. Inexpensive and High-Quality Food

We love peppers, and growing them, although we discovered it is more cost-effective to buy most of our produce here.

green, orange and red peppers

My husband was impressed with the local catch from Junior’s Fish and Shrimp. It was the best prices he had found on seafood as well.

two men holding large fish

Hubba hubba…

husband and wife at farmers market

If you get there before nine, you can buy directly from the farmers, as they bring in their goods.

farmers putting out watermelon at farmers market

After nine, the vendors offer even more options. Our boys learn about local foods indigenous to the region, and which foods they love, like pineapples or mangos, that have to travel further.

people at farmers market

Wherever you are in your nutritional journey, I encourage you to make it a family adventure and learn, cook, and grow together. You are bettering the community, as well as your children’s sustainable knowledge for a lifetime.
Support your local Farmer’s Market.

For more information on the market expansion and vendor opportunities contact Greg Tison at 904-207-0147

Do you shop at Farmer's Markets? What is your favorite part of the experience?

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Cambria VandeMerwe

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