I’m a huge fan of farmers markets. It's such a blessing to have access to incredibly fresh, locally produced, often organic or pesticide-free produce. My local market also features dairy farms, meat producers, a mushroom guy, bakers, and more. It is the harvest season in much of the U.S., and a great time to take advantage of the abundance by making seasonal dishes. For example, pumpkins, apples, pears, late harvest greens, and squash are readily available right now, and there are so many delicious fall recipes you can make. Farmers markets are a treasure for several reasons. They provide local farmers with direct-to-consumer outlets for their products. Consumers have access produce direct from the growers, and can learn about our food from the actual people who produce it. They are good for the environment because much less energy is spent in transporting the food. And they are often an excellent source for pesticide-free or organic foods. Eating whole, natural, organic foods is not just good for your health. In the bigger picture, supporting organic farming is good for all of us. By encouraging and enabling more farms to avoid the use of pesticides, we benefit from purer food, cleaner water, and a healthier society. The Environmental Working Group offers EWG's 2021 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™ that list which non-organic fruit and vegetables tested highest and lowest for presence of pesticides, so that, if you don't have access to organic produce, at least you can focus on those fruits and vegetables with the lowest pesticide loadings. The Dirty Dozen™ and Clean Fifteen™ lists are available on the EWG website. For a listing of farmers’ markets in your area, or check out Local Harvest at www.localharvest.org.
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