Tools

TN farmers talk about what 'all-natural' really means

By Jordan Hall
By jhall@wbbjtv.com

JACKSON, Tenn. -- West Tennesseans come out to the farmer's market every week to see the latest from the farmers. While some may argue it's just a fad, farmers argue that being all-natural is a way of life.

The price you pay at the farmer's market for a cut of meat may be a bit more pricey than one from the traditional grocery store. Chris Schmidt and his family raise pork, Hereford beef, and soy-free eggs on their Milledgeville farm.

"No antibiotics ever, no added hormones, they're all free range on the pasture their entire life," Schmidt said.

Doctor Chris Lewis explained there is a lot of theory behind the effects of hormones and antibiotics being transferred from meat into the human body. He said what they do know, however, is that the less chemicals you have in your body, the better.

Doctors say that's why farmer's markets with locally grown food may make for a healthier choice.

"Everybody needs to eat healthier and this is just a good place for everybody to come out and have a good time and get some good healthy food," said vendor and buyer Kathy Beaird.

Schmidt said before you make a purchase, the best thing to do is ask some questions.

"What they know about their livestock and what they know about the cattle or the pork or whatever it is that they happen to be selling and they should be able to tell you what they're feeding, where they were born...," Schmidt explained.

Although there is still a lot of theory behind chemical effects on the body, doctors say to make sure to add fruits and vegetables to whatever diet you choose.

Doctors say exercising 5 days a week for 30 minutes also adds to a healthier lifestyle.

The West Tennessee Farmer's Market is open every Thursday and Saturday.