Joel Shuler

http://www.fredericksburgfarmersmarket.comHave you visited a local farmers market lately? If it has been a while, October is the perfect month to reconnect with our local farmers markets. We are blessed to live in a part of the state that is surrounded by fields and open spaces owned by wonderful farmers and ranchers, many of whom participate in local farmers markets. You may not realize that there are about 30 farmers markets in San Antonio. That doesn’t count the wonderful New Braunfels Farmers Market or the Farmers Market at the Cibolo in Boerne.

It’s a safe bet that there’s at least one farmers market each week close to your home.

To find a local market near you, visit the Farmers Market page on FitCitySA.com. For a fun fall daytrip, head to the Saturday New Braunfels market, the Saturday Boerne market, or the Thursday evening Fredericksburg market.

Here are my favorite reasons to visit local farmers markets: NA_SA_10_15_Web_Page_04_Image_0005

Support Local – Large corporations control most of the food production and food availability across the country, and small family farms can’t compete. Local farmers and ranchers need our support. The money you spend at a farmers market stays in the local economy; it supports a small local business (and a local family!) that is supporting other small local businesses.

Taste – From my perspective, a locally grown tomato, squash, watermelon, peach—you name it—grown in local soil without the use of pesticides or any type of genetic modification just tastes better. The same is true with eggs gathered a day or two earlier from free-range chickens and beef from grass-fed cows free of injected hormones or antibiotics.

Planet-Friendly – In a rush, I bought a package of two red organic tomatoes at a big-box grocery store. Turns out the tomatoes were grown and shipped from overseas. I cringed thinking about the environmental impact of packaging and shipping those two tomatoes from another part of the world. Shame on me.

Health & Nutrition – Most food available at farmers markets is minimally processed. It’s not irradiated, waxed or gassed. It’s not genetically modified or injected with hormones, antibiotics or other chemical agents. Most produce is picked and harvested right before market, which means it’s as fresh as possible, packed with natural nutrients.

Community-Focus – Chef Bryant Terry says that what makes a farmers market so special is “you’re actually creating community around food.” You interact and build relationships with the people who produce your food, he says. Author Michael Pollen describes a farmers market as similar to a public square, an environment with a nice “social energy.” It’s the kind of positive social energy that transforms a major urban landscape into a distinct community.

I hope you will set aside time to enjoy one of the most beautiful months of the year. A visit to a local farmers market is a great place to start.

Blessings to you and yours during this wonderful month of October!

Joel-signature  Joel Shuler, Publisher

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