It’s summertime! That means sizzling burgers, chlorine-scented air, road-trips, and a whole new crop of fruits and vegetables at the Norman Farmers Market.

Yep, vegetables. We all know we need to eat more fruits and vegetables. Maybe you’re competing in the Lurong Summer Living Challenge, you’re counting your macros for RP (like many of our Norman members at CrossFit 405), or you’re just trying to pick up the pieces of a healthier lifestyle. Either way, “fruit and vegetables are good for you,” is pretty common knowledge (and the carbs-to-quantity ratio for strawberries and spinach isn’t bad, either.) But why buy at the Norman Farmers Market?

Really, any farmers’ market will do, whether you’re in Midtown or Norman. But it’s time to start respecting our vitamin A and K and consume produce the right way—locally-grown and in-season.

Still not convinced? Here are 4 reasons you should shake up your shopping list, head to the Norman Farmers Market (or OKC’s, or OSU’s…your options are endless!) and buy in-season produce.

1.Your body will benefit

Fruits and vegetables start losing their nutrients the second they’re harvested. The more time produce spends in a truck, the less vitamins make it to your body. After they’re picked, they go through respiration, where they release heat—and consequently, nutrients. (Did you know spinach can lose 90% of its vitamin C just one day after it’s harvested?)

And if you’re doing the honorable, disciplined thing and eating your vegetables (like it or not), you want all the benefits, don’t you? So if the produce isn’t in season when you buy it, it likely spent even more time in transit (possibly on a transatlantic flight), slowly giving its nutrients to the empty space in a plane or truck. And that’s just sad.

2. It’s cheaper!

If you want to eat an orange in the middle of winter and you live in Oklahoma, it’s a no-brainer that there is some cross-country shipping involved getting the citrus to your shopping cart. If a fruit or vegetable isn’t harvested during the current season, stores have to outsource the goods, sometimes from other countries. That means the price of gas, storage, and shipping gets tacked on to your fruit and veggie purchases. So skip the extra bucks and buy what grows close!

Farmers Market prices may not always have the lower dollar number, but factor in the organic aspect, or the difference in price of an out-of-season fruit in a grocery store, and you’ve got yourself a deal. Bonus: If you buy at the Norman Farmers Market, your money goes to local farmers rather than a corporation, and you won’t feel like you’re making a political decision by buying a tomato after a grocery store makes a political stance.

3. Get rid of the guesswork

Don’t know what fruit is in season? Can’t decide what to buy as you stare at bins of oranges, berries, and squash?

If you’re like me, you can’t make a decision to save your life when it comes to food. But if you stick to buying locally-grown, in-season produce, you narrow your options, which can be really beneficial. Instead of slogging through the grocery store while you’re tired and hungry, trying to decide whether to buy strawberries or kiwi, stop by the farmers’ market and load up on what they’re offering that day. You’re guaranteed everything in their bins is in-season, and you’ll have a jumping-board for recipes.

Cooking Tip: Can’t decide what to cook? Buy your veggies, then plan your meals. If you have peppers and sweet potatoes in your cabinet, get on Pinterest and search “sweet potato/pepper recipes.” There’s always a recipe (no matter how bizarre), and you’d be surprised at some new dishes you’ll fall in love with.

4. Your taste buds will sing!

Have you ever tasted fresh peas? It’s like the rich uncle of the canned variety. A completely different flavor. Why? Fresh is better. You know that. When a pear or squash spends days on a truck, it not only loses nutrients, it loses flavor as well. If you’re one of those people who have to force yourself to eat your greens, the kale might go down a little easier if it hasn’t spent three days on a truck.

Me? I’m a fan of these Texas-sized carrots (from Texas) they had at the Norman Farmers Market last Tuesday.

Norman Farmers Market carrot

“What’s up, Doc?”

Want more options?

Fun fact: Arctic Farms is a hydroponic farm in Blanchard, Oklahoma, and they’re at the Norman Farmers Market every Saturday ! They grow produce in water, so they can offer a wider scope of fruits and veggies than what wouldn’t typically be “in-season”—still locally grown and pesticide-free! Visit their Facebook page to find out what other Farmers Markets they frequent.

There you have it. Before you food-prep for Lurong or RP this weekend, head to the Norman Farmers market and stock up on your veggies. Your body, budget, and taste-buds will thank you.

Are you a member at 405 CrossFit in Midtown? The Oklahoma City Farmers Market has even more options available!

 

Sources: Livestrong.com , Chicago Tribune article