Guest Blog: Lisa Corrado makes busy people healthier by combining clinical nutrition with culinary
training. Visit her website at www.LisaCorradoNutrition.com

Emma, picking up the week's bounty from Aaron Munzer's farm stand.
Emma, picking up the week’s bounty from Aaron Munzer’s farm stand.

When you think of “buffet”, what comes to mind? Belly-busting blow-outs? Long tables filled with unhealthy choices? I’ve got another type of buffet in mind: your local farmers market. I’m a huge fan of farmers markets, for a variety of reasons. Like Michael Pollan says, it allows you to buy food that’s raised in a way you feel good about. Here’s why:

The beauty of “eating local” is that the food you’re eating is as close to picked as possible, retaining more nutrients because it’s younger. Once a fruit or vegetable is picked, the clock starts ticking. Without its life source, a vegetable stops synthesizing vitamins and starts degrading. The more time passes since harvest, the more degradation occurs. So it makes sense that eating vegetables from local sources that were harvested more recently will give you a healthier product.

Produce that travels from far away (sometimes from a whole other hemisphere) usually doesn’t have the luxury of ripening on the plant. Ripe fruits and vegetables don’t travel well or last too long, so they’re picked early and left to ripen (or not) on the store shelf. The food you buy from the farmers market came from a matter of miles away, usually from within the same state. Not only has it retained more nutrients, it tastes fresher and better (and it’s probably nice and ripe).

When you shop local, you support local businesses and your local economy. You’re going to spend your money somewhere, why not in your own area? Spending money in your own community helps it thrive, making it a better place to live. You’ll help keep people working and contribute to the overall community.

There’s always something new to learn. These farmers know their stuff and they’re happy to give you new ideas on how to eat their crops. Need a recipe for greens?  How about advice on how to grow the lettuce or tomato plants you’ve got your eye on? They’ll give you the lowdown on what you really need to know.

Think of the market as an all-you-can-eat buffet with lots of healthy produce. The great thing about a buffet is that you can try a little of everything. If you don’t like something, you haven’t made a big commitment. Same holds true for the farmers market. Interested in fiddleheads? Buy a handful and see if you like them. Never tried Russian Kale? One bunch will set you back just 3 bucks. Not sure if you like green garlic and can’t remember if it’s turnips or parsnips you like? It’s a small investment to find out. Why not try something new this week?

In Emma’s blog, Frisch Kitchen, she teaches readers how to cook with produce grown by her local farmers. She believes that little cooking is needed with good quality food! The best recipes are simple, and celebrate the flavors of the freshly harvested fruits and vegetables. So what are you waiting for? Dive in this season! Start cooking from your local farmers, and watch, taste, and feel the benefits!

Spring greens! What delight! Aaron, the farmer, bathed in light.
Spring greens! What delight! Aaron, the farmer, bathed in light.
An early spring visit. Bobby and Emma walk into the Ithaca Farmers Market, which is perched on Cayuga Lake, complete with a boat landing and docks to picnic with your fresh bounty.
An early spring visit. Bobby and Emma walk into the Ithaca Farmers Market, which is perched on Cayuga Lake, complete with a boat landing and docks to picnic with your fresh bounty.
The Ithaca Farmers Market is a happening, teeming with farmers, artisans, crafts and live music. Attend prepared to see at least three people you know, and swap a bite of whatever you're eating! (Left: Sara and Emma)
The Ithaca Farmers Market is a happening, teeming with farmers, artisans, crafts and live music. Attend prepared to see at least three people you know, and swap a bite of whatever you’re eating! (Left: Sara and Emma)

“The Ithaca Farmer’s Market first opened for business in 1973 as a venue for local growers and craftspeople to sell their goods. It is a cooperative with 150 vendors who live within 30 miles of Ithaca, New York.” This hallmark establishment has helped revolutionize local food in the Northeast U.S., and is worth visiting! The New York Times article “A Central New York Culinary Journey” gives a notable mention to this special place.

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