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The Real Perks of Buying and Eating from Local Farmers' Markets | Health

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The Real Perks of Buying and Eating from Local Farmers' Markets
The Real Perks of Buying and Eating from Local Farmers' Markets

Fresh, healthy food is easier to get than ever as more and more farmers’ markets are popping up across the region. Cheryl Harris of The Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine is registered dietitian and nutritionist. She’s a big fan of local farmers’ markets, and today she bought some fresh peaches, rosemary, and lemongrass from a popular market in Fairfax County

“A lot of things at the market, the farmers picked this morning. You also have a much more extensive variety,” said Harris at the McLean Farmers’ Market.

As a gardener herself, Harris enjoys being able to ask the farmers questions about how things were grown. She sees the customer service at local farmers’ markets as a major perk of buying locally. Aside from the freshness and supporting local farmers, Harris believes the taste of the produce is incomparable.

"I can't wait to get into those peaches," said Harris.

What's in season right now? Harris explained that everything is really in bloom this time of year, so you can't go wrong. Don't miss the fresh peaches, berries, tomatoes, corn, and melon. 

Here are the top benefits shared by Harris:

 *   Fresh produce and meat. Most fruits and vegetables are picked that day. Look for vendors selling grass-fed meats or free-range poultry and eggs.

 *   Support for local farmers.

 *   Few or fewer pesticides on fruits and vegetables. A plum shipped from Chile required lots of pesticides to keep it looking lovely even after traveling thousands of miles!

 *   Better taste! There's nothing as delicious as biting into a freshly picked tomato, peach or apple!

 *   Unbeatable customer service.  The "manufacturer" is usually right in front of you -- so if you have questions about how something was made or grown -- you can simply ask!

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