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Produce grown on local farms is not only cost-efficient but benefits farmers more financially than purchasing mass-produced produce.

The recent warm weather has reminded me that we still have a couple more weeks before fall officially shows up and brings cooler weather.

While I am personally ready for hoodie weather when walking to class, the good news of warmer temperatures is that it presents a way to shop sustainably while also supporting the local economy.

Farmers’ markets not only support local farmers and business owners, but they severely cut down production costs and the environmental impact of transporting materials from their place of origin. Lucky for us, the Indiana Farmers’ Market is will be open through October.

On Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings, you can stock up on all your veggies and goodies at decent prices, and they’ll be handed to you by the same people that grew or made them. 

Fall produce is in full swing, too, so if you’re in the market for squash and pumpkins, you know where to go. 

The Indiana Farmers’ Market website explains to its patrons just how much better shopping locally is, the first reason being that the food tastes so much better. 

A simple tomato, for instance, is much more flavorful from your own garden than the grocery store. But if you don’t want to go through the hassle of growing your own produce, your friendly neighborhood farmers already take care of that for you. 

And the quicker it gets to your plate, the better the fruits and veggies are for you, since they have less time to lose nutrients. Most produce loses a large percentage of its nutrients in only a few days after it’s harvested. 

According to CUESA, the average meal travels around 1,500 miles to get from the farm to your plate. I doubt it’s making it to the Indiana, Pennsylvania, stores before most, if not all, of its nutrients have been depleted. 

Another reason to visit the farmers’ market is that the vendors are part of your community. 

You know the work they put into their harvests, and they appreciate your service much more than a national produce company. At the market, you can talk one on one with farmers about what they grow, how they grow it, if it’s organic, and you can even see where they’re located. Those are some things you just can’t get from the grocery store. 

Sept. 21 at the Indiana Farmers’ Market is Harvest for the Hungry. They will be collecting donations for the local food pantry, and patrons are encouraged to purchase extra food with their normal haul and donate it at the market information booth.

The farmers’ market is Wednesdays 3 – 5:30 p.m. on Wayne Ave., across from the Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex, and Saturdays 9 a.m. – noon at Eighth and Church Streets.

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