Foods that are environmentally sustainable, natural, and grown in ways that treat animals and workers well, are gaining in popularity as more and more folks are demanding greater transparency from agricultural corporations to learn what we really are putting into our bodies.
Eating clean means eating good, local, and seasonal foods that nourish a healthy body. We’ve recently seen a variety of food movements including “The Paleo Diet”, “Farm to Table”, and “Field to Fork”, and while they have different details, they all have one common message inviting us to get back to eating foods the way nature intended.
We are learning that the soy and corn fields of yesterday introduced a plethora of new foods, boxed products, fast and convenient foods, processed foods, sweetened beverages, and meats infused with growth hormones and antibiotics. This way of feeding the masses became the “norm” and along with it we’ve seen a strong correlation to health problems such as obesity, type II diabetes, and high blood pressure. There have also been scandals such as mad cow disease and E.coli outbreaks that encouraged us to question how our food is being prepared.
Seasonal foods are grown naturally and require less interference. Land and labor are cheaper in foreign countries, making the price of an out of season product attractive, but purchasing off-season foods not only hurt the environment by using more fuel in shipping, but it also hurts the local economy by not purchasing from your neighbors. Farmers markets are a great way to get back to the basics. Local foods, grown in your backyard, your community, your state or your region, leave a smaller footprint on the environment.
The Fernandina Beach Market Place farmers market, open every Saturday on North Seventh Street in historic Fernandina Beach, offers a wide variety of locally grown, or prepared foods. Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables are readily available, but they may look a little different than their grocery store counterparts. You won’t find the waxed cucumbers or the gassed oranges you may see in the big box stores where produce is mass distributed, and you may even find a bug or two instead of a thin coating of pesticides.
In Florida (and California), we have the majority of the “native-to-the-Americas” fruits and vegetables and our produce vendors have a nice supply of seasonal foods, year-round. Much of the produce is harvested on Fridays, right before the market. Our bakers are baking within hours of the market’s opening. The local shrimp is caught wild, and even the dog treat vendor offers the freshest possible treats for your best friend.
When you come to the farmers market, we invite you to look at the labels and ask open ended questions to learn more about the processes our producers and growers use. Our exhibitors love to talk about their products and they are a wealth of information; you may even learn your next favorite recipe!
We are open from 9:00 to 1:00, rain or shine.