A couple of weeks ago we spent a weekend in London, we (maybe I) needed a little bit of sparkling city life! Walking around the Shard Quarter, we decided to stop at the Borough Market, London’s oldest food market. We just went into the market and suddenly I was a little girl holding my Grandma’s hand, walking through the stalls of a farmers market in Italy. I remember clearly the first time I went to the farmers market, I was impressed by the number of fruits and vegetables in different size and shape. There were colours all around me, different shades of red, yellow, purple, green and orange and I told my Grandmother “Wow this is a rainbow market!” From that moment I was very happy when I could go to the farmers market with my Grandmother, taste and choose fruits and vegetables for our meals. When I grew up I kept doing my shopping at the farmers market, no matter where I was, big or small city.
In Italy, it’s easy to find farmers’ market in every area of a big city and in every village and people usually buy fruits and vegetables there, rarely from the supermarket. My Grandma told me that one of the important things of buying at the farmers market was the trust in the vendors. People trust them because they take care of their products every day, they like to talk about their products and give you some advice about different variety and how to cook them. In addition to this special relationship with the vendors, farmers’ markets use is positive because:
- you can buy locally grown products and many farmers who sell at the markets practice sustainable agriculture
- there is a large choice of seasonal products
- fruits and vegetables are fresh and tasteful
- you can always ask for a sample before buying some products (the vendors are usually very happy to offer a taste of their products)
Furthermore, a good number of scientific studies (Abusabha, R. et al; Evans, A.E., Jennings, R., Smiley, A.W. et al; Freedman, D.A. et al) have shown that farmers’ market use is associated with improved fruit and vegetable consumption and as you know this is related to a lower risk of obesity and chronic diseases. Recently more studies (Bowlin AB et al, Jilcott Pitts SB et al, Freedman DA et al, Gorham G et al, Gans KM) are conducted with the purpose to promote farmers’ market shopping overall, among low-income consumers and children. The results of these researches can help to change the disparities in fruit and vegetable intake and diet-related health.
So farmers’ markets can represent a chance for a new healthy diet, why don’t you try your local one? And bring your children with you, I’m sure they will love the Rainbow Market!