Farmer’s Markets are a beautiful thing: they’re an opportunity to support small businesses while also getting locally sourced (often organic) produce for a fraction of what it would cost at your neighborhood grocery store. If you’re trying to eat healthy and are having trouble getting started, look no further! Your local Farmer’s Market is a great place to begin.  I took a spin through the Andersonville Farmer’s Market to see how us Chicago North Siders (no matter our dietary restrictions) can eat healthy with the help of the Farmer’s Market.

1) Grow your own herbs!

Andersonville Farmers Market

Photo Credit: Chicago Patchwork Farms @ Andersonville Farmers Market

Chicago Patchwork Farms has a beautiful display of produce at their Andersonville Farmer’s Market stand, but what I was most pleasantly surprised to see were basil plants! For just $3 you can buy your own basil plant and have fresh basil ever-growing on your window sill at home. Incorporating fresh herbs into your cooking is a great way to kick-start your healthy diet. Herbs, like basil, have powerful anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants to help keep your insides happy plus the added flavor can really give a simple dish the extra kick it needs. The folks at Chicago Patchwork Farms are so helpful – they also recommended thyme and parsley as great window sill herbs to accompany that beautiful basil! 

2) Eat Meat Responsibly 

Mint Creek

Photo Credit: Mint Creek @ Andersonville Farmers Market

If you’re a meat-lover who is trying to be kinder to both the Earth and your body, consider eating meat from grass-fed, free-range farms like Mint Creek. When shopping in your local grocery store it’s hard to be sure of exactly where your meat is coming from, which is another reason Farmer’s Markets are so helpful – you can often speak directly to the farmers raising the animals. Mint Creek raises only grass-fed poultry and livestock on on certified organic pastures and you can buy the product directly from the farmers at the Andersonville Farmers Market. They are totally transparent about what their animals are fed, how they are treated, and how they are actually HELPING the environment! All around a very cool place to support.

3) Drink up! (juice, that is).

City Press Juice

Photo Credit: City Press Juice @ Andersonville Farmers Market

City Press Juice is a great find at the Andersonville Farmers Market. While it’s awesome to shop for fresh produce, sometimes it’s nice to have all that goodness pressed into a ready-to-drink bottle for you to sip while you shop. City Press is an all-organic (yes, ALL) juice shop with creative flavors that pack a serious nutritional punch. Juices are great for all diets, for all kinds of people trying to stay healthy; they are the quickest way to deliver nutrients to the blood stream – and if you do it right – a pretty delicious way, too. Whether you’re new to juicing or a juicing vet, definitely check out City Press – their innovative flavors can help guide you as you begin your juicing journey or just add to your repertoire of healthy drinking ????

4) Snack healthy

Pop cobs Chicago

Photo Credit: Pop Cobs @ Andersonville Farmers Market

Grocery story snacks are always a crap shoot – it’s hard enough to find healthy options and when you finally stumble across a “natural” alternative, often you can’t pronounce half of the ingredients. Enter Nichols Farm & Orchard “Pop Cobs” : a healthy version of the beloved microwave popcorn, just in it’s natural form! “Pop Cobs” are microwaveable full ears of corn that you simply put in a paper bag and microwave for 2-3 minutes. This way you’re still getting that natural popcorn flavor, just without all the added sodium and fat you would find in your typical grocery store brand. Add a little sea salt to this bad boy and you’ve got the perfect healthy snack!

River Valley Farms

Photo Credit: River Valley Farmers @ Andersonville Farmers Market

Another Farmer’s Market Vendor serving up healthy snacks is River Valley Farmer’s Table. Yes, they are famous for their amazing mushrooms (which, if you’re a mushroom fan, you really can’t get much better than River Valley) but they also make their own granola! Granola is often something that masquerades as a health food, but is secretly packed with added sugars and (again) unpronounceable ingredients. At River Valley they sweeten their granolas with fruit and a bit of brown sugar and put all ingredients front and center so there are no surprises (and no struggle to pronounce them). They really get creative with their flavors – they have granolas ranging from Blueberry Cardamom to Cranberry Pistachio to satisfy every customer. So if you’re in the market for a healthier granola – River Valley is your place! 

 Tam Dickson

Featured Author: Tam Dickson, Andersonville Aligned Modern Health Clinic Manage