By Rita Carey-Rubin.
Here’s some great news for anyone who loves fresh, delicious produce: the Prescott Winter Farmers Market is open in two convenient locations this year! You can enjoy our local winter’s bounty in Prescott, at the Pendleton Wellness Center, Saturdays from 10 am-1 pm, and at the Harkins Theater in Prescott Valley, on the corner of Glassford Hill Road and Park Avenue, Tuesdays from 2-5 pm. Both markets can feature vendors selling beautiful cold-weather produce, baked goods, eggs, grass-fed beef, prepared foods (including delicious tamales and samosas), handmade wooden and knitted items, local lavender products, and even wine!
There are many benefits of buying and enjoying fresh, local produce, but first and foremost, there is taste! Local produce is picked at peak ripeness and flavor on or near the day it is delivered, unlike many fruits and vegetables that travel hundreds, if not thousands of miles before landing on supermarket shelves. Throughout the market, you can see freshness in the vibrant green leaves of locally grown sweet spinach, spicy arugula, and savory bok choy. Just one taste of a crisp, sweet carrot, or a peppery, juicy radish, might convince you to come back every week for more!
Local produce is also packed with the vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals we need to keep winter colds and flu at bay. Studies demonstrate that fruits and vegetables lose important nutrients in as little as one week after harvest. Buying freshly picked, local produce is the best way to ensure that the spinach you put in your morning smoothie or dinner salad really delivers!
Lastly, buying produce at the Prescott Farmers Market supports local families and farms. Here are some good reasons to buy local, taken from the Prescott Farmers Market website:
- You know where your food comes from. When you buy directly from the farmer, you are honoring the time-honored connection between the grower and the eater. If you have questions about the farmers growing practices, you can ask; if you want to participate and learn more about agriculture most farmers would love to have you!
- Buying locally keeps money in our community. Significantly more money remains in our community when our dollars are spent at local businesses. Those businesses then purchase more often from other local businesses, service providers, and farms. For every $100 spent at a locally owned business, $45 goes back into the community and our tax base, as compared to $14 back for every $100 spent at a chain store.
- Small farms help the environment. Small farms are more willing and able to use sustainable practices like growing cover crops to prevent erosion, replace nutrients used by their crops, and capture carbon emissions; using drip irrigation to use less water; and use compost instead of fertilizer to keep chemicals off their land and out of our food.
For more information, check out the Prescott Farmers Market website at http://www.prescottfarmersmarket.org, or call 928-713-1227.
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