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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Stressed about what to eat?: Head to the local farmers' market for some food therapy

Jun 29, 2017 12:09AM ● By Marti Wolfson

Marti Wolfson cooking at the Irvington Farmers' Market

On any given summer Saturday or Sunday, you are likely to find a bustling farmers market in nearly every town, each with its own set of vendors. With so many big-chain supermarkets popping up in suburbia, farmers markets offer a welcome respite, a place to enjoy the area’s freshest, most unique products while communing with friends. In this day and age of fad diets, big-ag-driven anti-food and confusing science, farmers markets serve consumers in another significant way: they offer people a chance to shop without stress. In fact, it’s a shopping experience to look forward to.

Consider how much time you spend just thinking about food each day. Nearly every client I see in my practice is stressed out about food for one reason or another. It may be the never-ending “what’s for dinner” dilemma, or concerns about not getting enough protein and fiber. Others are worried about GMOs in their food. Most of my patients just want to do right by their families but are confused about what to serve them. And then there’s the rise in inflammatory conditions that have people steering clear of gluten, dairy, corn, soy, nuts and eggs.

While stores are filled with vegetables from around the globe and shelves of foods with difficult-to-pronounce ingredients, farmers markets give us the straight and simple: What you see is what you get. The term “whole foods” takes on even greater meaning at the farmers market; it is defined by the whole circle of the food chain, not merely an unadulterated food.

For the most part, shoppers can be at ease knowing the produce is fresh, because it’s local and minimally sprayed, if at all. Animals are fed on pasture, making the eggs, chicken, beef, lamb and pork richer in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and other essential nutrients. And the artisanal breads sold at farmers markets generally have longer ferment times and are made with ancient grains like millet, quinoa, amaranth and buckwheat.

Don’t take my word for it—visit a farmers market (see list on page 31 to find one near you). You’ll find that you’re less stressed out about all the extraneous worries we typically concern ourselves with when it comes to food. Your time at the market probably will be focused on what it ought to be: good food and the anticipation of what you will create for dinner. This sets the stage for long-term health.

Marti Wolfson, a Westchester-based culinary nutritionist, rotates between Chappaqua, Irvington, Bronxville and Hastings farmers markets, where she holds food tastings from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. featuring dishes she improvises onsite using market ingredients. She offers cooking services, classes, workshops, corporate wellness services and retreats. Contact her at or 413.717.0459.