Spring is finally here and that means it’s time for the Des Moines Downtown Farmers’ Market! The Downtown Farmers’ Market begins on Saturdays in May and runs through October each year, and this year’s event is sponsored by UnityPoint Health - Des Moines! Iowa farmers come from all around the state to sell their family farm products. Visitors can buy fresh flowers, eggs, produce, meat, baked goods, handcrafted art, wine, cheese, and more. This year, there will be 300 family farms, local artists, and bakers represented at the Des Moines Farmers’ Market. The event offers an excellent opportunity to participate in the farm to table movement, a growing trend in the United States.
What is Farm to Table?
The farm to table movement is what it sounds like. Products, like produce, meat, flowers, etc., are brought straight from a local farm to a community area like a farmers’ market. Then, the community purchases the local products and takes them home to their table. It sounds simple, but in a world of processed foods, fast food, and food from overseas, the idea had lost its popularity for several decades. Thanks to a renewed interest in eco-friendly, healthy, and simple living, the farm to table movement is slowly making a come back.
One of the best ways to jump into the farm to table movement is at your local farmers’ market. Start a trend in your community today by visiting the Des Moines Farmers’ Market!
Ways to Start Living Better at the Farmers’ Market
1. Diversify Your Food.
If you feel like you’re stuck in a routine of eating the same foods, here’s a good way to introduce new foods and recipes! A farmers’ market offers a wide variety of fruits and vegetables to help you expand your taste buds and your nutritional intake.
2. Help The Environment.
Buying your food from farm to table is exceptionally environmentally friendly. Some produce you find in stores and restaurants come long distances to get to your plate. Forget the planes, trains, trucks, and boats! The produce at your local farmers’ market only traveled a short distance to get to you.
3. Ditch Processed Foods.
Farm to table food is healthier than processed and packaged foods. First of all, it’s all natural and many of the ingredients and products are locally grown or raised. Secondly, it probably contains fewer calories, fat, sugar, and carbohydrates than the pre-packaged food you find at the store.
4. More Nutrients.
Food that travels from long distances doesn’t have as many nutrients as locally grown food. Produce that has to make a long trek to your grocery store is often picked before it’s ripe and fully ready to eat, which can reduce its nutritional value.
5. Better Taste.
Locally grown food tastes better. Farm to table food is grown to taste as good as possible while mass-produced foods are grown in quantity. Both taste and nutritional content are retained when produce ripens naturally.
6. Educate Your Kids.
Farm to table can be educational! If your kids live in the city or the suburbs, they might not even realize how much farmland is in their state. Taking them to a farmers’ market can open their eyes to the amazing things that farms produce.
7. Eat Healthier.
Studies show that people who eat at home consume fewer calories. They also eat less fat and sugar at each meal. Preparing homemade food with produce you find at your local farmers’ market can help your entire family eat healthier.
8. Simplify Your Life.
Farm to table is a simple concept. It cuts out the middleman and provides you with fresh and healthy produce faster. We live in a world full of technology, a lot of which has affected our food consumption. Farm to table goes back to the basics.
9. Find Farm to Table Recipes.
Today, many recipes are specifically using the farm to table products to make the dish as delicious and healthy as possible. Take a moment to chat with the farmer selling their produce and ask them how they would recommend preparing a particular product.
10. Support Your State.
You are helping Iowa with your purchases. All of the money goes back into the hands of family farms, local bakers, artists, and others.
11. Save Money.
Locally grown food isn’t as expensive as you think. Making homemade food with local products saves you money. Despite the myth that only young, wealthy, “hipsters” buy food at farmers’ markets, you will see people from every walk of life reaping the benefits of farm to table products.
12. Support Family Farms.
You are supporting your local farmers with every product you purchase. You will meet the families you are supporting, one-on-one, as you select your food.
13. Bring Your Family Together.
Family meals at home bring families closer together and can benefit children! Studies have shown that family meals can lower the rates of teen pregnancy, drugs, obesity, eating disorders and depression. They also show that family dinners help boost self-esteem, grade-point averages, and vocabulary.
Make a homemade meal with your family tonight with locally grown produce. You will get more benefits than you can imagine! Stop by the UnityPoint Health - Des Moines booth to visit with our staff at the Downtown Des Moines Farmers' Market!