8 Benefits Of Buying Fruits And Vegetables At A Local Market
If you care about your health and seek ways to get the most nutrients out of your food, then buying fruits and vegetables from local farmers’ or open markets is better than shopping for them in supermarkets and malls. Do not be deceived in thinking that shopping in supermarket is easier, time-saving, classier and even elegant. There is a lot to gain in buying fruits and veggies in a local market. Here are eight reasons why.
- Artificially Ripened Fruits Are Harmful
The chemical agent used for ripening fruits, Calcium carbide has been studied extensively and is harmful to humans. Most often, fruits and vegetables sold in supermarkets arrive in store unripe, as green. The mangoes have undergone artificial ripening technique, where placed in hot water (at 48 to 54 degree Celsius) to hasten ripening. They slowly ripen on the shelf between six to twelve days. This creates feeling of doubt in your mind-about the source and safety of mangoes and other fruits sold in supermarkets. So, you wonder, how do supermarkets preserve fruits?
To be free of this doubt and be convinced about the source of your food, why not consume fruits and vegetables that grow in their natural season, grown around your area.
Many countries, especially African countries do not have legislation on the use of chemical agents for ripening fruits. Researchers have reviewed availability of legislation and health hazards of chemically ripened fruits in different countries to encourage policy formulation on this.
2. You Eat Fresh Food, Naturally In Season
There is real joy in eating fresh fruits and vegetables that grow and mature during their natural season. Remember the feeling you have when eat mangoes or guava in February or March? You feel certain you are eating “natural” fruits. Now, imagine you eat mango in October or November? You definitely know the mango is not “normal” and at these months, it is likely sold in a supermarket and most likely imported from outside Nigeria.
When you buy fresh lettuce or spinach at a local market, most likely it was harvested 24 to 48 hours ago from the farm. Otherwise, it does not look and feel fresh and you would not want to buy. In addition, you know where the food comes from. This gives you peace of mind.
3. Safety Is Important. Taste Also Matter
Food from local markets are generally safer because the transit time from farm to table is greatly reduced. Food handling processes are fewer. Again, potential contamination from improper or prolonged storage is less.
If you have tasted freshly harvested cauliflower or broccoli produced in Jos and that sold in big supermarkets, you will understand what I am talking about. I bet you will never buy these vegetables from the shelf. Fruits and veggies freshly harvested from local farms taste better. They have crunchy feel. The natural juice and aroma from fresh food is not comparable to food on a supermarket shelf.
4. Wider Choice Of Fruits and Vegetables At Local Market
Nigeria cultivates different types of foods from different geographical locations. In a particular season, you find different varieties of food from different places in a single local market. For instance, you find several types of pepper with varying degree of hotness (“Miango”, “Shambo”, etc.) all in one market. It is difficult to find this variety in a supermarket.
5. Locally Grown Foods Are Cheaper
I must say, in these hard times, you want to spend wisely on your shopping. No room for excesses or unsolicited spending. If you shop for fruits and veggies in supermarkets and at local markets, you would agree with me that it is cheaper to shop at local market. It is cheaper when you buy in bulk. If food storage and preservation is a challenge for you, why not get a couple of friends to pull money and buy in bulk. That way, you still get a good bargain, yet you don’t need to have more than you can consume.
6. Better Knowledge Of Food Production And Preparation
When you buy food from local farmers, you develop interest in food cultivation, harvest, storage, preservation, use of fertilizer, pesticides etc. Sometimes the farmers even educate you on how best to cook the ingredient you buy. Very few grocery stores or supermarkets will teach you how to cook the produce you buy from them.
You also engage in keen conversation with the farmers and want to know more about food. You generally become interested in food and agriculture. You begin to understand the farmer’s plight- their joy, awes and woes. I find that really educating. You will be surprise how they love to see you interested in listening and learning about farming.
7. Greater Community Bonding
I feel delighted each time I go to buy fruits and veggies from local farmers. I feel happy to buy from them because I know I have added to their income and, in return, they have nourished me with healthy food. Imagine every family in a given area buys food from their local farmers. Think of the feeling of support that the farmers will have. In addition, the human-to-human interaction during the bargaining and buying process goes a long way to enhance sense of community togetherness and bonding.
8. Supporting Nigerian Local Farmers
The Nigerian government is presently encouraging more people to go into agriculture and create wealth through it. This can only be realized if people buy and consume what our farmers produce locally. When you buy fresh produce from our local farmers, you are directly improving their income. You have also discouraged importation of food from outside Nigeria. Thus, preventing capital flight and saving foreign exchange.
When leaders demonstrate keen interest in buying and encouraging local farmers, we will do the same. Former United States President, Barrack Obama left a legacy that promotes local food production and healthy eating.
Shopping for fruits and veggies at a local market has many advantages over shopping in a supermarket. There is health and nutritional benefits. It is cheaper and you have wider choice of what to buy. You also support the local farmers to boost their income. Again, you will help Nigeria to promote local food consumption to grow the Naira. Above all, you will help to create a better local community.