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Shopping Organic at the Farmers’ Market

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August 10, 2021

A trip to the farmers market is the perfect way to spend a summer day. There’s fresh produce, handmade goods, and other fun finds at every stand! Since it’s straight from the farmer, it has to be organic right? Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complicated than that! 

Shopping Organic at the Farmers' Market

Organic produce, for those who aren’t familiar, is grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides or other agents! It’s essentially just plants growing as they would naturally, without human intervention. Pesticides and other chemicals used on crops have been linked to cancer, memory deficits, and a bunch of other conditions over time, which makes it extremely important to prioritize picking organic foods! You’d think farmer’s markets would be the premier place to get organic produce but research has shown otherwise. 

CBC in Ontario, Canada went undercover in supposedly organic farmers markets. These farmers claimed to have organically grown the produce themselves when they actually purchased it all from a wholesale market. The New York Times found a similar phenomena, finding that some local markets purchased their produce from commercial (not organic) farms. 

So, how can we make sure our produce is organic at a farmers market?

I usually verify the produce is organic by asking the vendors a few simple questions!

 

Where was the food grown?

  • This ensures that they know the specific farm, or at the very least, the general area that the products were sourced from. If they have no idea, it’s probably not organic. 

Where was the food picked?

When was it picked?

  • This would be a very easy question to answer if the sellers actually grew the food themselves. If they give you a date range, then the products likely did come from them!

When was the food picked?

What was used on the crops to control pests?

  • Chemical pesticides are a hard no for those wanting to go a bit greener. Organic farmers use other techniques to protect crops from bugs and other pests. Hand weeding, mechanical control, mulches, other crops, crop rotations, and dense planting are all acceptable answers here! 

What was used on the crops to control pests?

If the sellers are at all wary of the questions you ask, then you may want to reconsider buying from them. While you don’t have to be entirely organic, it’s always a good idea to strive toward knowing the process by which your food was grown and knowing exactly what you put in your body! 

For more tips on shopping organic, be sure to check out my new book, The Slightly Greener Method (now available where books are sold)!

The Slightly Greener Method

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Hidden Toxins: How to Find Cancer-Causing Chemicals in Your Personal Care Products

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