Food today travels an average of 1,300 miles to get from the farm to your kitchen table and important nutrients get lost along the way.

Warm weather brings an easy solution, the farmer’s market. Local farmers’ markets offer produce, meats and dairy products that are more often than not organic and the likelihood is that the produce has been harvested within the past 24 hours. This means that when it reaches your table it is at its peak of freshness, flavor and nutritional content.

The USDA reports that the number of farmers’ markets operating across the country has more than doubled over the past ten years and that all in all there are almost 4,000 operating across the country today. This means that it is easier and easier to get fresh and nutritional produce onto your plate. If you visit foodroutes.org on the Internet you should be able to find markets, farm stands and small-scale farmers in your area.

By eating locally grown organic food you are putting the highest quality fuel into your body and that is going to have an impact on your performance in your everyday life.

Organic fruits and vegetables that are grown on a farm local to you can have up to 59 per cent higher levels of antioxidants than their conventionally grown counter parts. It is these antioxidants (plant chemicals) that help us to fight disease.

Cells in the bodies of athletes need to be regenerated and repaired often as the physical stress caused by the sport contributes to the build up of free radicals. Therefore if they have plenty of antioxidants in their diets, they will help to neutralize the damage. But you do not need to be into sports to benefit from the antioxidants, that was just an example.

Research has shown that organically grown produce contains more vitamin C, which is important for cellular regeneration; iron, which aids in the making of red blood cells and transports oxygen to the muscles; magnesium, which helps muscles to contract and relax and phosphorus which helps to regulate the heartbeat, than non organically grown produce.

By choosing to buy organically grown produce you are also reducing your exposure to harsh pesticides and other chemicals, which are used by conventional farmers.

Not only are organic products healthier, they often taste better too. Starting with incredibly fresh ingredients means that it is easy to make flavorful meals.

Many of the dairy products sold at farmers’ markets come from small farms where you can almost taste the difference in the milk, as the cows move from pasture to pasture. Shopping at a farmer’s market gives you an opportunity to talk to the farmer and find out what’s in season and to get ideas on how to cook it.

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