• Brittney daCosta

WHAT TO LOOK FOR AT THE FARMERS MARKET | VIDEO

There are a few essentials I like to grab each time I go to the farmers market. I get everything from fresh fruits and veggies to dairy products to pre-made convenience foods I just don’t have time to make on my own. I eat little to no animal products; however, if I do, I get it from the farmers market because I can be sure the quality of what I’m buying and that the animals are treated properly.

I eat little to no animal products and can go for months without it; however, if I do, I get it from the farmers market. Because this way I can be sure of the quality of what I’m buying and that the animals are treated properly.

The market is also a great place to try new things. This week I discovered an organic vegan gluten-free tamale… yum!

Below is a list of the things (in no particular order) I talk about in this video from Facebook live...


PASTURE-RAISED EGGS

Note that I did not say free-range eggs. There’s a huge difference! Free-range doesn’t mean much of anything but pasture-raised means that the chickens genuinely live their lives outside in a grassy area. I also confirmed that these eggs are fed a proper soy-free, non-GMO, vegetarian, organic diet. I’ll write about this in more detail at a later time.

RAW GOAT MILK CHEESE FROM HAPPY GOATS

In the grocery store, I typically look for organic certification; however, in the market, I talk to the vendors to find out how the animals were raised and it may be organically even if they don’t have the official certification. This is always a nice find as it usually means I can save a few dollars as well as support a local farmer.

Goat and sheep milk dairy are much easier on your body to digest than cow’s milk. However, if you can’t find it raw, goat or sheep pasteurized cheese is still a better option than cows. Even if you’re lactose intolerant, you may find that your body can, in fact, tolerate raw goat dairy.

RAW ORGANIC KEFIR 

Kefir is fermented milk (as is yogurt). It’s basically a drinkable yogurt packed with far more probiotics. At my local farmer's market, I haven’t been able to find goat or sheep milk kefir, so I’ve had to resort to cow’s milk. But that’s ok because it’s packed full of powerful probiotics that are very good for your belly regardless. In fact, in Turkey, many places give you a form of kefir after some meals solely to help your tummy feel better.

ORGANIC PISTACHIOS

I usually look for dry-roasted nuts i.e. no added oils or unnecessary fillers.

PARMESAN “VEGAN” CHEESE

This is made with pine nuts and tastes divine. You’d never know it’s vegan! And pine nuts are full of Vitamin D, iron and are a great appetite suppressant.

NON-DAIRY GARLIC SPREAD

This is one of those things I could easily make on my own but choose not to. Simply because the amount of garlic in this spread would stink up my place and my Vitamix for weeks! Pass. I’d much rather purchase this pre-made by someone else. Surprisingly, the combination of apricot and garlic is unbelievably delicious.

ORGANIC SOURDOUGH BREAD

Most of the time, I’m gluten-free except for when I can get my hands on some properly made sourdough bread. Sourdough bread is almost always a better bet than regular bread because of the way the grains are prepared. I always verify that the grains are fermented via a naturally occurring yeast instead of pre-packed yeast and that white flour isn’t mixed in to make up the bulk of the bread.

Michael Pollan talks about bread extensively in his book and documentary, Cooked. It’s very informative and will open your eyes as to the history of gluten and why so many people are sensitive to it today. I usually prefer to read; however, in this case, I find the documentary to be more interesting between the two.

Gluten intolerance is a very recent phenomenon and is thought to be a byproduct of industrialized bread production, which is very different from how bread has been baked historically.

FRESH FRUITS & VEGETABLES

I love to support local farmers whenever possible so I buy as much produce as I can when I go to the market. This week, I got kale, avocados, plums, and basil. Since I usually only cook for one so I try to buy only as much as I can eat before it goes bad! I already have some things left from previous trips like yellow and red onions, garlic, and oranges.

If you’re on a budget, buying from the market can save you some money if you know what to look for. If it’s certified organic, chances are it’s going to cost more; however, you can ask the other vendors about their growing practice. You’ll likely find that many of the vendor’s produce isn’t certified in order to keep the cost down; however, their produce is grown the same. I choose to take people at face value but you can usually look at the produce and tell whether it’s grown organically or not.

There’s so much information when it comes to choosing dairy, eggs, grains, produce, etc. It’s ok to not always know the best choice to make as long as you make the best decision you can with what you do know. According to a recent study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, eating the right fruits and vegetables and avoiding the most contaminated ones, for just five days can reduce circulating pesticide-based obesogens to undetectable or near undetectable levels.

As you can see, a little effort goes a long way.

KEEP IT simple AND  fun

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