How to Eat Healthy on a Budget #2: Shop locally

Now that spring has arrived, farmers' markets are popping in cities and small towns throughout the country. You will find great deals on fresh produce that is in season, as well as herbs, baked goods and more. While you may find that some things are a little higher priced, on the whole, you will be getting quality items that are very affordable.
Urbana's Market at the Square at Lincoln Square Mall is one of the largest and most diverse farmers' markets in Illinois. With more than 170 vendors on average, thousands visit this market every Saturday morning. Food vendors include local farmers, Piato Cafe, Great Harvest Bread Co., Pekara Bakery and more. Other vendors include Danville Gardens, MurphyAO Ink and many others. Check out the Market at the Square website or their blog for the latest information on the weekly market.
Not only will you find yourself saving money at the farmers' market, but there are a number of other benefits to shopping locally. Consider the following reasons why you should visit a local farmers' market:
  • Exercise: Many people go the farmers' market to walk around and browse for a bit, as opposed to quickly running in and out of the grocery store. Take your time to wander around the area and if you live close, walk to the market instead of driving.
  • Community: By purchasing items from local vendors, you are giving back to the community in which you live.
  • Variety: You will be amazed at the sheer numbers of varieties of your favorite jams, baked goods and produce. Branch out and try something different that you wouldn't find in the grocery store.
  • Freshness: You can't compare the level of freshness you will get with a large supercenter's food department. The food is literally only traveling a few miles before you purchase it, not across the country in a large semi-truck.
Do you visit Urbana's Market at the Square or any other farmers' markets in the area? Who are your favorite vendors there? What is the best part about going the farmers' market?