6 Primal-Minded Reasons to Hit the Farmers Market This Weekend

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With Memorial Day come and gone, we’re rounding the corner to summer. Even in the northern-most regions of the country, farmers markets are back (if they ever closed where you live). Ten years ago when I started MDA, they were still a rarity in most parts of the country, but times have changed .

Farmers markets aren’t just about local, seasonal produce. Sure, that’s a great reason to show up every week, but I’d argue also for some of the less noted (in some cases even less tangible) benefits of hitting these markets.

Socialize with Others Who Care about Health

I hear from a lot of folks who are looking for community when they make a health change. Their spouse or inner circle doesn’t necessarily put a premium on healthy eating, and they feel like they’re going it alone.

That said, farmers markets won’t be a exclusive gathering of Primal Blueprinters, but it will likely be a pleasant collection of folks who have health-related visions and values. They want to support local farmers and economies. They care about agricultural methods and sourcing. They enjoy knowing their food providers and feeling a connection with the farms it came from. You’ll find many who prefer organic fare. There are those who are more adventurous eaters, willing to experiment with new veggies, meat cuts, and international flavors . Maybe some just enjoy the more social vibe of a farmers market.

When was the last time you had a friendly conversation with a perfect stranger in the aisle of a grocery store? At farmers markets, impromptu conversations happen all the time between shoppers, and between shoppers and farmers. The mood is convivial and leisurely. There might be a band playing, or tables set up for communal eating. People often go to farmers markets to hang out, not just to get groceries. It’s an outing, even an event in the weekend–not just a chore. Something tells me the sun is more welcoming than the florescent lighting, too….

All of this is good for mental health. Socializing increases secretion of oxytocin, and oxytocin is an antidote to feeling depressed and isolated. Think of it this way: the healthy food you buy at a farmers market feeds your body, and simply being at a farmers market feeds your soul. The slow food movement gets it, and I like that. Appreciation of food is a full cycle experience if you’re open to that.

Learn New Cooking Tips and Recipes

When you’re having one of those impromptu conversations with a farmer, ask what their favorite recipe is for purple cauliflower, or kale, or whatever’s in season at their stand. The farmers often know simple recipes that bring out the best flavor in their produce. (You may even find handouts at their tables.) Many of the farmers also talk to chefs who shop at the market, and can share their cooking tips.

If you see a fruit or vegetable you’ve never cooked before, don’t be shy. Ask what it is, and what to do with it. Chances are, if things aren’t

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