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     Summer is undoubtedly my favorite time of the year. Growing up I remember vividly every Saturday morning going to the local Farmers Market. My mother would always let me pick out something extra that was not on her “to get” list. I would always pick STRAWBERRIES. Yum! But then that time of the summer would come where Strawberries were no longer an option because of the heat. I just didn’t understand this or want to accept the fact that I couldn’t get my strawberries  until the following summer and I would always throw a dramatic fit as a 10 year old.

Now living in Knoxville, a couple of hours away from where I grew up, I had to do some research on the local farmer markets. I found that there are several Farmers Markets within a few miles from where I live, and most run through the end of November.

  1. Market Square Farmers Market
  2. UT Farmers Market; Wednesday 4-7 – Located on the Ag Campus at the University of Tennessee
  3. Knoxville Farmers Market;  Tuesday 3-6 & Friday 3-6- Located Laurel Church of Christ on Kingston Pike

Benefits of Local Farmers Market

  1. Supporting local farmers. When buying from farmer markets’ it enables the farmers to keep 80-90 cents of every consumer dollar. When buying supermarket fruits and veggies ~82 cents goes to the “middleman”
  2. A typical store bought veggie has traveled 1,838 miles before it lands on your dinner table. Where has your food been to? For the most part you can assume the fruits and veggies you buy at a farmers’ market have traveled less than 50 miles.
  3. A typical store bought veggie is already 4-7 days old when you buy it

Now that I am older and don’t throw childish fits over strawberries I understand the importance of Farmers’ Market and how it can help a community. Everyone has a reason for doing something- the reason I support and buy produce from Farmers Markets is to help maintain a sustainable agriculture that doesn’t harm the environment and provides fair wages. Off to UT Farmers Market!

People handle change in different ways. For some people going organic may be relatively easy, while for others change is very difficult. So, take baby steps when going organic. When taking smaller steps rather than a drastic change you will be more likely to stick with it. The first step should be….

1. Start buying Organic Milk rather than your regular milk.

You might ask what Organic milk has to offer, well here is the good news about organic milk.

- Organic milk contains more antioxidants and vitamins than conventional milk.

- The most important thing about Organic milk is that the cows are not treated with hormones or antibiotics, so therefore is much safer than conventional milk.

- Organic milk has a much longer shelf life than conventional milk and this is because Ultrahigh temperature (UHT). UHT is a preservation process in which the milk is heated to 280 degrees Fahrenheit and all bacteria is killed in 2-4 seconds. So, if you find your self throwing away a lot of milk then you may save quite a bit of money by buying Organic milk.

- Organic milk contains good fats. This good fat is Conjugated Linoleic  Acid (CLAs), which decreases your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Finally, here are a few brands:

1. Horizon Organic

2. Organic Valley

3. Earth Fare’s

Many foods can be very misleading, and you may believe that it is organic. So, here are a few ways to tell if it is truly organic and not just made from a few organic ingredients. In order for a food to be “certified organic” it has strict regulations. These regulations include inspections and testing of soil and water.

Any food that has a USDA organic label means that it is made of at least 95% organically grown ingredients. This label is voluntary but is a great marketing tool for buyers who don’t read the labels.

When buying foods don’t be fooled by a label that says “Made with Organic ingredients.” Foods containing 70% or less of Organically grown ingredients cannot have a USDA Organic Seal and cannot advertise “Organic” on the packaging, but can contain a few organic ingredients.

So, if you are going organic look for the USDA Organic Seal or buy from a supermarket that carries only organic foods.

Happy New Years,

Hayley


Throughout the past several years, organic foods have went from barely being on the shelves at your local grocery store to having entire grocery chains dedicated to just organic foods. Why is this? There is definitely a healthy side to organic foods. So here is some food for thought.

1. Organic foods do not contain any harmful pesticides.

The average non-organic food contains about 20 pesticides.The best way to get rid of these pesticides is by washing your fruits and vegetables, even then pesticides can still cling onto the surface of these foods. Pesticides can be harmful, causing itchy eyes to stomach problems. The best way to avoid pesticides is to go organic.

2. Organic foods contain no Antibiotics

The use of antibiotics or hormones is prohibited in Organic practicing. Antibiotic use in animals is causing great harm to humans. A human can develop antibiotic-resistance, which is resistances to one or several antibiotics and therefore the person will have a harder time fighting an infection. North Carolina uses approximately 3 million pounds of antibiotics as feed enhancers annually, it is estimated the same amount is used for medical treatment in humans nationwide each year.

3. Organically grown fruits and vegetables contain a more significant amount of nutrients.

Organic foods contain more Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorous, and  Vitamin C, which can help protect you against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, and even skin wrinkling.

Lastly, when you buy organic foods you are supporting local farmers. Most organic foods are grown locally depending on what part of the country you live in, and therefore the transportation cost will be lower and when you buy that fruit or vegetable, you will be supporting your community. So, go do yourself and your community a favor and go organic for 2010, and see if it makes an impact on your life.

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