Farmers Market Best Place to Buy Local

Buying local and being green doesn't have to cost a fortune, in fact you can actually save money by visiting your local farmers market.  And, at the Dallas Farmers Market  they are making it even easier for you to spot what is Texas grown.

"You can see on some of our banners that are posted around the market. We have a small yellow sign that says, 'Verified Local Farmer,'" said Susan Zidlicky, with the Dallas Farmers Market.

You can't miss the signs, especially in shed one. But don't rush over to Dallas just yet if you are looking for a plethora of locally grown produce. You might want to wait a week or two as late spring and summer is the best time to find locally grown produce, unless you are looking for meat or cheese that can be purchased year round.

Or, if you are looking for something a little different, check out some of the specialty hydroponics.

Sean Henry with  produces specialty lettuce year round in a climate controlled environment . 

"We are selling our hydroponics spring mix. We were producing lettuce in the winter," said Henry. "When the first freeze came all the lettuce died for everyone else, but we were still able to grow it."

While many people look for "organic" food in a quest to stay healthy, in many cases keeping it local can be just as beneficial.

"There is some health benefit to having the local produce," said Jennifer Pereira, registered, licensed dietitian.

Pereira knows the importance of good nutrition.

"I think health wise, you do get something that is the freshest it can be," said Pereira. "Some of the nutrients are lost in transport. So when you get something that is local, it's not been grown two weeks ago and shipped across the country, it just comes straight over from the farm. You still have a lot of the freshness of the nutrients and the taste, of course, is a huge benefit."

Along with keeping it local, variety in your diet is also crucial to good health. 

"It is very important to have a whole balance, so you want to make sure you are getting the fruits and the vegetables in the most convenient way possible. A lot of times buying local can be a helpful way of doing that,"  Pereira said.

Pereira also likes for shoppers to look our for what she calls the star players in your diet, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, carrots and avocados.

"It's hard to get fats from fruits and vegetables, you are only going to get some carbohydrates," said Pereira. "So you really do need to focus in on getting things like avocados, that are going to have another nutritional benefit."

Many of the vendors at the farmers market also offer samples of their goods so come ready to try before you buy.  And, the next time you shop for groceries the more conventional way, consider this from Pereira: "The average carrot travels 1,800 miles to get to your dinner table."

If you can't make it to Dallas, click here for a list of Farmers Markets around North Texas.

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