It wasn't until I started to turn my life around that I became interested in organic whole foods and farmer's markets. Basically I ran my body into the ground working long hours, sitting in a chair for 8-10 hours, eating crappy junk food, and stressing out about unnecessary issues. So enough was enough, and that's why I ended up becoming more interested in eating right and connecting with people on a more social level (dark cubicles are lonely). So why was there so much talk about farmer's markets? Why were they so special and what was the big deal?
1. Market's sell fresh foods, in comparison to the week-old produce sitting on store shelves. So to answer the previous question: No, all veggies are not treated equally. It's so important to eat fresh produce, because then you get all of the vital nutrients the food provides, which can be lost if the food gets old.
2. Certified organic food is much more accessible and cheaper at a market. You can do your entire weeks shopping for a fraction of the cost. This is a big deal, because this makes organic an option for most people. Most of the food is so cheap that you can't even get it for that price at the grocery store, organic or not. An example of this is that I can buy six tomatoes, a head of lettuce, celery, and six cucumbers, all organic, for only $9. And of course these are always the most scrumptious tasting veggies ever! I'm so spoiled by them.
3. Getting to know your local farmers and where your food comes from is important. It's also a wonderful, fun experience. Farmers are so friendly and helpful. I've learned so much about food, which ones are in season at what times of the year, how to tell which ones to buy, and cool preparation advice. I even get free food from them sometimes, just for being a regular. They'll through in an extra fruit or two, which is extremely generous. Nothing beats the community and being outside in the fresh air, rain or shine. I much prefer that to fluorescence lights and rows of junk food packaged in plastic.
4. Speaking of plastic, I love that the food I buy doesn't have any packaging. If I want a tomato, that's all I get, no waste at all. That, and I use reuse bags, so just imagine how much materials are saved just by that alone. One person makes a difference.
5. The farmer's also encourage you to try new things. For instance, I never even knew delicious white raspberries existed before trying them at a stand. Samples are always given out to get people interested in the foods. Another example is Asian pears or purple peppers. If it wasn't for the interaction and encouragement to try them, I would have missed out. A variety of all sorts of plants and food is crucial for a healthy body. Just think: Where are you getting your red, orange, yellow, green, and purple fruits and veggies from today?
So if you don't already go to a farmer's market in your area, I highly encourage you to give it a try. I got my sisters hooked on going as well. I was telling them for years, "You have to go to a market, they're so great." And finally they started going and couldn't believe they didn't do it sooner. The prices alone are worth it for most people.
This website will make it easy to find a farmer's market near you: