Francesca Orlando, founder of Healthful Living SD, is back to shed light on the beauty and benefits of farmers’ markets. In fact, one of the services she offers in her nutritional arsenal is a farmers’ market tour to explore the value of our local markets. With a history of shopping the Italian farmers’ markets of her homeland, Francesca is well versed in the topic of fresh, wholesome produce, and specialty foods.
Maria: Since you grew up in Italy with easy daily access, describe the benefits of shopping at farmers’ markets.
Francesca: Growing up in Italy with easy access to farmers’ markets was a wonderful experience. My mother and grandmother would go to the market daily, and when I moved away from home, I did the same. I worked as a flight attendant to pay for my first Master’s degree, and I remember I knew where every farmer’s market was in every European city I had a layover. I can attest to the numerous benefits of shopping at these markets. Farmers’ markets offer several advantages consumers often can’t find in their typical grocery stores. They are renowned for their fresh, locally grown produce. These items are usually harvested before the market, ensuring peak flavor and nutrient content. In contrast, grocery stores may carry produce that has traveled long distances and been stored for extended periods.
Maria: What do farmers’ markets offer that consumers can’t find in their typical grocery store?
Francesca: Farmers’ markets reflect the seasons, offering diverse fruits and vegetables that change throughout the year. This encourages us to embrace a more varied and seasonally inspired diet.
Shopping at a farmers’ market lets us connect directly with the people who grow their food. This personal interaction fosters a sense of community and trust, and shoppers can ask questions about farming practices, learn about the products, and even receive cooking tips.
Buying from farmers’ markets supports local farmers and the regional economy. It keeps money within the community and encourages sustainable agricultural practices.
With produce traveling shorter distances to reach the market, the carbon footprint associated with transportation is reduced. Additionally, many items at farmers’ markets are produced using environmentally friendly farming practices.
Farmers’ markets often feature artisanal and specialty products that are not readily available in standard grocery stores. This includes handmade cheeses, baked goods, jams, and other unique offerings.
Many farmers’ markets prioritize organic and sustainable farming methods, making it easier for consumers to access high-quality, health-conscious products.
Maria: This is probably a good time to tell us about your grocery store and farmers’ market tours.
Francesca: I love getting out of the office and meeting people at the store and farmers’ market!
I always start by discussing my client’s dietary goals and preferences. This helps me tailor the tour to their needs, whether we are working on managing a health condition, weight loss, or transitioning to a plant-based diet.
Maria: How do you teach people to shop?
Francesca: During our tour, I teach them how to read food labels. We go through nutrition labels and ingredient lists, and I show them how to spot hidden additives, sugars, or unhealthy fats.
I help them navigate the aisles of the store or market, pointing out healthy options and showing them how to choose products that align with their dietary goals.
Meal planning is a crucial component of the tour. I show clients how to select ingredients for balanced and nutritious meals, including fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. I also encourage them to make healthier choices by swapping out less nutritious options for more nutritious ones. For example, we might choose whole-grain bread over white or lean protein sources instead of high-fat alternatives.
We’ll discuss portion control to help them avoid overeating. I might demonstrate how to visualize portion sizes and use hand-based measurements for estimating serving sizes.
I provide guidance on selecting cost-effective options and making the most of seasonal produce, which can be more budget-friendly at farmers’ markets. We work together to identify suitable options for their dietary preferences, whether they are animal-based, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or have other dietary restrictions.
If we visit farmers’ markets, I emphasize the importance of supporting local, sustainable agriculture. We discuss the benefits of seasonal, locally-grown produce and how to identify high-quality products.
Overall, these tours provide them with a practical, hands-on experience in making healthier food choices, understanding the impact of their food selections on their health, and learning how to shop effectively for their specific dietary goals. These experiences can empower clients to make better choices and improve their overall well-being through nutrition.
With all the farmers’ markets throughout San Diego County, it’s great to explore how fortunate we are to have direct access to some of the freshest and nutritious produce from our local farmers. In the next edition, Francesca will dig deeper in her search for achieving nutritional balance in the U.S. In the meantime, please visit Francesca’s website for more info about her thriving nutritional therapy practice and an extensive list of suggestions on a variety wellness topics!
Be sure to read Episode 1 our Biz Mom interview Francesca and watch her farmers’ market video:
Check out the Healthful Living SD profile and in our Fall Fit-Wellness Guide!
Here are some popular farmers’ markets in North County:
Cardiff Farmers’ Market (We thank Cardiff 101 for providing the farmers’ market photos in this blog post!)
Leucadia Farmers’ Market
Farmers Market Downtown on Main Ave.
Solana Beach Farmers’ Market
Poway Farmers’ Market
Rancho Santa Fe Farmers’ Market
San Marcos Farmers’ Market
Del Mar Farmers’ Market
State Street Farmers’ Market
Oceanside Morning Farmers’ Market
The Biz Mom: Healthful Living SD — Shopping Farmers’ Markets , Ep. 2