Why you should shop for fresh fruit or produce at farmers markets

| 25 Jun 2024 | 12:07

Now is the time to buy your favorite berries — strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries — at your local farmers market, like Lakeside Farmers Market in Greenwood Lake each Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., for three reasons:

First, most of the berries you see at big box stores look delicious. Often sealed in plastic or protective containers to keep them looking unblemished during what usually amounts to at least 1,500 miles in transit, they arrive and are merchandised to look as appealing as possible. But try comparing their flavor to the berries at the farm stand, and you’ll soon discover that you have been missing quite a bit of taste. The sugar-acid balance is an important ingredient while ripening on the farm. When harvested early to withstand the long trip to the supermarket, fruits lose flavor and nutrients fast, and they never ripen to the degree that they do on the farm.

Second, the greenhouse gases that are emitted during the time in transit that berries are subjected to make their trip much more expensive. Emissions from transporting food from its place of origin to the consumer are roughly “8.4 billion tonne-kilometers (tkm) — about 1.4 gigatons of CO2. When upstream activities along the supply chain are factored in, emissions more than double to 22.2 billion tkm, about 3.0 GtCO2e, representing 6% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. The entire food system, more broadly, is responsible for one-third of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans,” according to Thistle.co.

Finally, it’s the nutrition that fresh fruits (and produce) provide. Cleveland Clinic studies reveal strawberries are a great source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), which you need to get from food, as your body can’t produce it. In rare cases, people who don’t get enough of this crucial vitamin develop scurvy, a disease that causes bleeding, bruising, and anemia.

Vitamin C plays an important role in wound healing. And it may prevent and treat respiratory and systemic infections too. Research shows that vitamin C increases the production of: T-cells, which remove infected and cancerous cells; and B-cells, which create antibodies so your body can better defend against germs in the future

Vitamin C is also anti-inflammatory, lowering your stress response triggered by illness. Vitamin-C-rich foods like strawberries over vitamin C supplements provide additional health benefits. With strawberries, that includes fiber and other phytonutrients and vitamins that cannot be replicated in a vitamin supplement.

Locust Grove Fruit Farm, one of the vendors at Lakeside, has been farming their property for seven generations. Originally ship builders, the first Kents decided to trade in their tools to till the land of the family homestead. Locust Grove Fruit Farm began its life in 1820. Overlooking the Hudson River Valley, the Kent’s farm offers a perfect location for orchard fruit. Well drained soils and a temperate climate offer optimal conditions to produce a variety of fruits and vegetables.

To speak with Jim Kent and learn about (or taste) his magnificent fruit, stop by Lakeside Farmers Market next Saturday and visit GWLNY.org for details.