You won’t find these 4 foods in your average grocery store! That’s one of many reasons I’ll be sharing about why I love farmer’s markets. Here are some examples of great food finds I’ve made at farmers’ markets:
Haskap berries: Lonicera caerulea is also known as the haskap, honeyberry, blue honeysuckle or sweet berry honeysuckle. A relative of the blueberry, these oblong, antioxidant-rich blue berries have very similar nutritional properties of blueberries yet with a slightly different flavour. They are structurally unique in that each berry actually contains 2 berries, wrapped together by an outer skin! Haskaps are harvested late June to early July.
Lion’s mane mushrooms: Hericium erinaceus a.k.a. Lion’s Mane is a beautiful and uniquely-structured mushroom that grows on wood in the wild, lion’s mane has been studied for its neuro-regenerative properties. Check out my research blog on this specific subject. It can also be cultivated using a take-home, easy to use kit. Check out these kits from JCB Mushrooms in Kinburn, Ontario. JCB Mushrooms is at the Kanata Farmer’s Market every Saturday with fresh mushrooms and grow kits.
Grass-finished meats: Sure, many meats are now labeled ‘grass-fed’, but this doesn’t mean the animals were fed ONLY grass. Feeding grain to beef cattle and pigs in the weeks before slaughter has been a common practice for decades, fattening them up, increasing their omega-6 and saturated fat content. In contrast, grassfed-and-finished animals have never been given grain, resulting in up to 5 times the omega-3 (linolenic acid) content of grain fed meat. Meanwhile, the content amount of another beneficial fatty acid called CLA (conjugated linolenic acid) is about twice that found in grain-fed beef. So be sure to ask your market vendor what their livestock eat, and you will get clarity on the quality of the meat.
Delicious heirloom varieties of tomatoes: Goodbye store-bought tomatoes! You are tasteless, anemic and hard. But before you give up on tomatoes altogether, you’ve got to taste some freshly picked heirloom varieties. Because they are not mass-produced and bred to withstand shipping; heirloom varieties are of superior colour and flavour. You’ll find yellow, orange, red, green, purple and black tomatoes at most farmers’ markets in a variety of sizes. Why should you eat them? Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene—an antioxidant that protects cells from damaging agents like pollutants and radiation. The best news is that cooking tomatoes doesn’t destroy lycopene–it IMPROVES its absorption! Enjoy!
What are some of your farmers’ markets finds?