Natural and Organic products in high demand
Natural and organic products seem to be making their way across the First Coast, as more people are flocking to farmer’s markets looking for foods and natural healthcare that support their lifestyle of green living. But what is green living?
“Green living,” “living green,” or “going green” are all phrases used to describe a method of conscious living to become not only become more eco-friendly, but to also become more aware of the foods they eat and the ingredients in the products they use.
Efforts to provide natural and organic produce and products have been underway for years, as vendors at the Beaches Green Market provide a variety of these items to patrons who have come to view the market as a community staple.
“Just start walking around a farmer’s market” says Sonya Maya, owner of Blue Planet Organic Foods. Maya, who has been a vendor at the market for several years, says that a lot of people aren’t aware of the markets around town, and are subsequently missing out on the benefits of fresh, organic produce.
“Try an organic apple and taste the difference, which you will see right away organic food always tastes more alive, has more flavor,” says Maya.
Taste isn’t the only benefit vendors boast about. Knowing what’s in the products you consume and use, and knowing that the ingredients are minimal, is something the patrons appreciate according to Brenda Hall, vendor at the Beaches Green Market, and owner of Eden’s Leaf. Hall produces a number of natural products including soaps, facial masks and scrubs, lip balm, candles, and a number of hygiene products for both men and women.
Hall explains, “We use coconut oil and shea butter, things that are really good for your skin.” Hall also uses ingredients like organic oatmeal, green tea, and essential oils which customers seems to appreciate, as Eden’s Leaf is one of the most highly visited booths at the market.
It can be argued that what you get at farmer’s market or local business may be healthier, but there are some concerns about going green, one being the cost.
It’s no secret, buying natural and organic can be costly. For example, a bar of natural soap can start at $5, opposed to the conventional $2 or less for three bars of Dial soap from any local store that carries the item. Then there’s the produce, with fruits like organic oranges, which can cost upwards of $6.99 per bag, whereas, buying a bag of non-organic oranges can cost around 4.99 in local groceries stores.
However, the vendors, and even the patrons say the benefits far outweigh the costs. And for those who concerned about how “going green” adding up in cost, can always learn how to grow some of their own produce at home.
Andre Arroyo of KYV Farms says that, “learning about agriculture, what’s in season, what crops grow best in this particular climate,” is a good way to start for people interested in knowing more about how to grow naturally and organically. Tips are available on their website.
For people like market patron Zach Roth, the benefits aside, it’s an opportunity to support businesses right in our own city. “It’s just nice to support local people, as opposed to some faceless corporation.”