News

Farmers’ Markets – and a new Food Assembly.

Istanbul vegAs a child brought up in Istanbul in the 1950s the sight, sounds, smells and the positive social experience of teeming markets was commonplace. Eating seasonally was the only option – and very healthy it was too.
But what about this country? We now frequent characterless supermarkets, with more product choices than we need, seemingly less and less tasty contents, probably less healthy and with less social intercourse. Mind you blocking the aisles while chatting may be beneficial for the participants but have an adverse effect on other shoppers’ blood pressure!
Here is the outcome of an article published online by Health Promotion Perspectives.
If this is not of interest to you then the other piece of news is the Haddington Food Assembly is open for business online. For every pound spent , 92p stays in the local economy and 80p goes directly to local producers.

“When you attend a farmers’ market, you can have exposure to all kinds of fruits and vegetables that you may not see in your local grocery store. You may try things that you would not normally eat.”
Bowling and her colleagues have studied the effects of farmers’ markets on residents of inner city neighbourhoods in the US. They reported the results of a study conducted with Farm Fresh Rhode Island — a food system that supports 11 farmers’ markets in cities across the state. Farm Fresh Rhode Island enrolled 425 families in a program to see whether providing a financial incentive — $20 to spend at a farmers’ market at every third visit to the market — would encourage them to shop at the markets more frequently and to consume more healthful foods.
The research team surveyed a representative sample of 146 people when they entered the program early in the summer and at the completion of the season in late autumn. On average, the people reported that they had lowered their daily fizzy drink consumption by 25% and increased the amount of vegetables they ate by 12%. More than a third of the participants cited their kids’ willingness to eat more vegetables as the most important reason they stuck with the program. Almost a quarter mentioned the financial incentive.
It’s not surprising that farmers’ markets are steering people toward healthier eating. They are tailor-made for people who are serious about following guidelines which advise a gradual shift to a plant-based diet centered around vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Moreover, produce may even be less expensive than at the supermarket.
The bonus benefits
Farmers’ markets do more than offer a unique selection of fresh produce; they also provide an environment that’s conducive to smart shopping. “There’s a culture that’s specific to farmers’ markets,” Bowling says. “You’re surrounded by other customers who are making healthy choices and by farmers who have grown the produce and know how to prepare it.” Many farmers’ markets offer cooking and educational programs for children. You may find local musicians playing, activists circulating petitions, and people handing out notices of upcoming events. They’re great places to cement a connection with your community, which has its own health benefit.
The next time you’re about to head to a supermarket you may want to consider the advantages of making a detour to the nearest farmers’ market:
• Freshness. Just-picked produce is at its peak in flavour and nutrition.
• Variety. You may find some fruits or vegetables you haven’t seen before or new versions of old standards.
• Information. You can learn a lot at a farmers’ market because the people who sell the produce are likely to have had a hand in growing it. They should be able to tell you the kind of farming methods used and offer suggestions on preparing the food.
• Samples. If you’re wondering if the cherries are sweet or tart or if the apples are crisp, ask for a sample. Most vendors are happy to comply.
• Fewer temptations. There are no “centre aisles” filled with processed foods and snacks at farmers’ markets, and no candy-stocked checkout counters.
• Sustainability. Eating locally or regionally grown produce means less energy is expended bringing it to your table. And supporting regional agriculture is good for your community.
The Haddington Food Assembly is a click and collect market with most products originating within 6 miles of Haddington. Why not register and give it a go? If you Google it you will find it. And the Haddington Farmers Market is a well-known fixture in the monthly calendar.

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