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farmers market

We recently moved out of the city, and one of my bigger concerns was that I wouldn’t be close to some of the cool, health-minded places I had come to love.

In fact, I’m pretty sure that was one of my bigger hurdles in deciding to move: As I’ve been working on losing weight, I’ve developed a regular routine with a workout group, weekly grocery-shopping trips to my favorite co-op, and a fantastic 8-minute commute (that’s now become 30 minutes). The pattern suited me well: I’ve lost 63 pounds to date.

Of course, even with easy access to these terrific perks in the city, I wasn’t accounting for the high stress of living in a home we had long outgrown. We’ve been in our new space for nearly three weeks, and already I feel a heck of a lot more relaxed. And, even though my diet has been a little off my usual clean eating and I put my workouts on hold while we were getting settled, I’ve still managed to lose three pounds. Further proof that stress plays a huge factor in losing weight. (Read more about the impact of stress on the body in “The Science of Stress.”)

I was happily surprised to find health-focused stores, restaurants with gluten-free options, and yoga studios right near our home. More props go out to the city developers, who put wide walking/biking trails alongside the main road, so we don’t even need to drive.

My favorite find so far was the Shoreview Farmers’ Market. Located in the lower parking lot of the Shoreview Community Center, the market has a wide array of vendors (mostly veggie-focused on my visit, but I did see flowers, crafts, essential oils, and a beef and pork farmer). They also had live music in a nearby amphitheater and a food truck. The party atmosphere was clearly felt by even the youngest visitors: As I arrived, a boy exclaimed “That was fun!” to no one in particular.

And he wasn’t the only one that was engaged with healthy living. Buying kale, I heard a man talking to his wife about the prevalence of food allergies; two women were chatting about their favorite yoga class at the nearby Life Time Fitness. It felt like I had found my people.

I also checked off several items on my grocery-shopping list, including awesome-looking bacon from Neumann Farms, a 40-year-old operation run by Ron and Joyce Neumann in Princeton, Minn. We’ll be enjoying this bacon with our weekend breakfast feasts.

Shoreview Farmers’ Market

Where: Shoreview Farmers’ Market, Shoreview Community Center, 4580 Victoria St. N., Shoreview, MN 55126

When: Every Tuesday from 3 to 7 p.m., June 11 to October 22

Who: All ages welcome. The kids seemed to really enjoy looking at all the food options, and the aisles are huge — great for strollers. Sorry, no pets.

How much: Prices vary. I purchased snap peas for $2, bacon for $6, kale for $3. You can usually get a lot for $20.

Why go: Because farmers’ markets are awesome. Really. They are a great place to learn more about your food and how it was grown, allow you to give money directly to the farmers who worked hard to tend those plants and animals, and studies have linked healthier-eating habits to those who regularly shop at a farmers’ market. Plus, the food is generally cheaper while still being organic (mostly, ask your farmer how they grow their fruits and vegetables), which gives more people in lower income levels (or on tight budgets) access to healthy food.

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