Check out a post I wrote for MindBodyGreen – 5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Farmer’s Market.
Do you know where and when your local farmer’s market is?
If not, turn to the trusty Google, look it up, and put it on your calendar.
Farmer’s markets are the place to be this summer. If you want fresh, vibrant produce, local and sustainable animal products, and fantastic people watching, then find a farmer’s market.
I can honestly say that I enjoy walking around the Burlington farmer’s market with a local “Runner’s Remedy” juice more most nights out on Church Street. The farmer’s market is more than grocery shopping. It’s an experience checking out the numerous produce stands available, talking to the farmers, eyeing the farm fresh eggs, and tasting delicious cheeses.
The park is overflowing with people, rain or shine, because it’s the best of the best (or at least the best farmer’s market I’ve been to). I pick up my veggies,eggs, or other goodies, but then, I spend the time socializing with friends and browsing the food stands or crafts. I always head to the stand that offers roasted nuts and nut butters – maple ginger triple-nut butter, anyone?
There are so many reasons I love farmer’s markets, but one of the main reasons is the availability of local, seasonal, sustainable, and humanely raised products. I can usually speak directly to one of the farmers and learn about how they grow their produce or raise their animals. Unlike buying food from a grocery store, I can learn about where my food comes from and decide if it is a high-quality product that will nourish my body.
Since I’ll be frequenting the Burlington farmer’s market every Saturday I can (8:30 am to 2 pm through October), I want to feature some of my favorite stands.
The Juice Bar Vermont
Last fall after a long run along the beautiful bike path, I discovered a little, hidden stand (The Juice Bar Vermont) on the far side of the market that makes organic juices from local produce. I quickly grabbed up a Runner’s Remedy juice made from beets, apple, ginger, and carrots and told them to make it extra gingery.
I’ve written about how fantastic beets are and their benefits for endurance exercise, and this antioxidant rich juice was so good that I returned the next week to find it sold out. Thankfully, when the market re-opened this spring, I was ecstatic to find it on the menu. It was a tough decision between The Runner’s Remedy and the strawberry-rhubarb juice, but I haven’t been able to get that red juice out of my mind since last fall. The “triple-X ginger” version was a perfect, nutrient-packed Saturday treat.
This time, I grabbed a card to find out more about this solar-powered, mobile juice bar made out of bicycle frames. After browsing The Juice Bar Vermont’s website, I have become a huge fan. They use local and organic produce, and their menu changes with seasonal items. Compared to juice bars I’ve seen down in Boston, their juices are also incredibly affordable. I was thrilled to see they have a stand in the Church Street Mall as well! Next up is the Sweet Potato Love juice (sweet potato, pear, ginger).
Add Juicing to a Balanced Diet
Now for a little nutrition talk. Juice “cleanses” or “fasts” are pretty popular these days. I definitely do NOT recommend surviving on only fruit and vegetable juices for a week or even several weeks long. Yes, you will probably lose weight because your body will be starving for some balanced nutrition from protein and healthy fats. In fact, some claim juice cleansing is the new socially acceptable eating disorder. Not cool.
Consuming fruit and vegetable juices in the context of a well-balanced diet is a much better option. It’s a great way to get in extra veggies, and you’re going to be flooding your cells with tons of micronutrients. If you want to juice or frequent a juice bar, go for it, but make sure you’re not using it as a meal replacement. You also don’t need to juice to be healthy – eating whole fruits and vegetables on a daily basis is the most sustainable and affordable way to get in phytonutrients and delicious food.
If you’re going to juice on a regular basis, try to focus on vegetable-based juices most of the time. Juicing removes the fibrous part of the produce, which aids in blood sugar regulation and satiety. When you drink a large fruit-based juice, it may dysregulate your blood sugar. Making a veggie juice with a little fruit will have less sugar and be a better choice most of the time. Try juices with kale, beets, carrots, celery, ginger, or other herbs – be creative!
Have you ever tried a fresh juice or juicing?