“There is a lot of pressure when you finish up with Masterchef to get out…
Nutrition is like fashion. One week we’re drinking kale and coconut water smoothies and the next we’re soaking our almonds to ensure adequate activation (it doesn’t matter if you don’t understand that statement).
Not unlike fashion, most of these nutrition trends are gone as quickly as they came. And, just like denim, blazers and black will always be accepted as mainstream fashion; so are the tried and true, evidence based nutrition trends that stick with us for the long haul.
One of these trends, I predict, will be sourcing and buying our food locally.
Sustainability in nutrition is a very quickly growing area of research and the more one looks into the global food system, the more one realises just how far our food travels before it gets to our plates.
The concerns with sustainability are broad and complex and I’m not going to go into them, mostly (if I’m honest) because I don’t fully understand the whole picture.
However, when it comes to food miles (how far a food stuff has travelled between the farmer and you), you start to realise how inefficient the system is and wonder how long it can go on like this.
It’s this concern that I believe is one of the drivers that has birthed the newest trend of buying local and the rise in popularity of the farmer’s market.
It baffles me that the concept of sourcing your food from local farmers is a trend. It makes complete sense to eat food that’s been grown locally and that’s suited to the climate and environment in which you live. Those of you who’ve been buying your produce from farmers markets for donkey’s year would probably agree with me. But alas, this is the new, modern world in which we live. Fast paced and connected on a global level like never before. Therefore, you can be eating a fish caught 10,000km away, three months after it was caught, coated in a batter made from ingredients originating in three or four different countries. Not to mention, serve it with vegetables grown and harvested in a third world country a few weeks earlier. It’s outrageous really, when you think about it.
As a nutritionist, the idea of buying local food is one that sits very nicely with my food philosophy. Good nutrition is the result of good overall diet quality and a quality diet consists primarily of whole, fresh, minimally processed foods.
The other great thing about buying your food locally is that you begin to eat seasonally. Eating seasonally has many advantages: Food can be eaten fresh, food tastes it’s best and also contains a maximum amount of nutrition, particularly in terms of vitamins. Fruit and vegetables (the cornerstone of a healthy diet), in particular, start losing their nutrition as soon as they are picked or harvested. Eating seasonally also encourages good nutritional variety throughout the year because the available foods changes over the weeks and months.
It’s a great idea to challenge yourself regularly to cook and try new fruit and vegetables each season as the produce changes. You might be surprised at how vast your food repertoire becomes. Seriously, there could be a local foodie inside you just dying to get out! Set them free!
I reckon there’s something very satisfying about getting away from the normal, crazy pace of our current lives, putting on our comfy weekend clothes, grabbing our enviro bags and heading off to the local farmers market. You get to chat with the people that actually grow your food. How cool is that? Many of the farmers will also have ideas on what to do with the produce, how to cook it and how to best store it once you get home.
Finally, buying locally is great for our farmers and local economy. A community that supports its members is a great community indeed.
Whether you do it out of the goodness of your heart or you want to ‘stick it to the giant supermarket man’ why not head to your local farmer’s market this weekend.
Find your local market
The Capital Region Farmers Market is the largest regional markets in the Southern Tablelands. Discuss what you’re buying with the growers. Learn more about the food you’re eating and the region it comes from. On every Saturday from 7:30am to 11:30am at Exhibition Park in Canberra.
Anyone who loves farm-fresh, regional, seasonal produce, and who wants to meet the person growing their food, will love Canberra Farmers Markets. These are: Northside Farmers Market from 2:30pm to 5:30pm on Saturday afternoons at the University of Canberra, and Southside from 8am to 11:30am on Sunday mornings at the Woden CIT. Both have a relaxed, village feel, friendly atmosphere and a great variety of produce every week.
Fyshwick Fresh Food Markets are a Canberra institution and Canberra’s oldest markets. They offer a great range of fresh produce including fruit and vegetables, meats, seafoods, delicatessens and bakery products.
Belconnen Fresh Food Markets offer a wide selection of speciality stores where you’ll be spoilt for choice, discovering gourmet ingredients to create delicious, healthy meals for the whole family.
Choku Bai Jo, the farmers outlet, was set up by the Pentony Family in 2008, and sells produce from other producers that are at the Capital Region and Canberra Farmers Markets, as well as producers not able to make the markets. The goal for the shop was to give farmers another outlet for their fresh produce while making it easier for the public to access fresh produce. Open from 2pm-7pm Monday to Friday, and 8am-1pm Saturday at the North Lyneham shops and Curtin Shops.
Old Bus Depot Markets
The Old Bus Depot Markets are held in Kingston every Sunday – as well as fantastic handcrafted goods, it’s home to great local producers of everything from meats, bread, fruit and vegetables to macarons and chai! Find your favourite stallholder and visit the Markets each Sunday from 10am-4pm.
What other markets should we know about?
Farmers market image from Shutterstock.com