As we transition into summer, someone might mention to you that they’re so excited about the farmer’s market getting into full swing again. For the non-initiated, the farmer’s market might not sound very exciting. What’s the big deal about it, anyway? Is it cheaper? Do people enjoy shopping outdoors that much?

There are actually numerous benefits to shopping at your local farmer’s market, and some people do just enjoy the atmosphere or find better deals there. But the number one reason you should give it a chance has nothing to do with those things, and everything to do with your health.

Sure, you can buy tomatoes at your local grocery store. But do you know where they were grown? How long did they sit on a truck, before arriving in your favorite produce department?

When you shop at a farmer’s market, you can purchase fruits and vegetables straight from the farmer. Often, they were just picked that morning, or the afternoon before. That might explain why farmer’s market veggies always smell and taste more fresh than their grocery store counterparts, which often spend a week or more on a truck, traveling thousands of miles, before you purchase them.

The more time produce spends on a truck, the more its vitamins and minerals begin to break down. Often, that trip is spent under refrigeration, which keeps food from spoiling… but refrigeration also destroys some of the vital nutrients contained in fruits and vegetables!

You’re sure to encounter more organic options at the farmer’s market, too – often for a better price than you will find at the grocery store. That’s good news for those of you who want to avoid potentially harmful pesticide residues or genetically modified products.

If you have a hard time convincing your kids to try new veggies, a trip to the farmer’s market can be a fun, educational experience. Often children are more adaptable to new ideas when there is an air of excitement about them. So, take the whole family, and encourage them to ask questions! Learning how food is grown usually fascinates little ones.

And, of course, you’ll be supporting your local economy! A quick online search will help you find a farmer’s market near you. Give it a try, and you’ll be hooked on fresh, delicious produce all summer long.