Clean eating becomes fresh idea in ArkLaTex - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Clean eating becomes fresh idea in ArkLaTex

PRINCETON, LA (KSLA) -

On any given weekend during the summer, the Benton Farmers Market is jam-packed with customers trying to snag their favorite fruits and veggies before they are fresh out.

"We sold out of all of our purple hull peas and all of our okra," said one vendor who has been selling his homegrown products at the market all season.

Farmers markets have become overwhelmingly popular in recent years in the Ark-La-Tex because of the growing interest in eating healthy. A movement called "clean eating" has revitalized many small businesses and farms.

Down a blacktop road in Princeton, Louisiana sits Mahaffey Farms, a fast growing farm that is representing the benefits of the clean eating movement. When a person eats clean, they cut out processed foods and sugars from their diet and eat more natural foods.

"We've been doing this for three years now, and by selling at the Shreveport Farmers Market and selling here, we have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of people asking questions and buying our product because they've realized that we are what we are," said Evan McCommon, the owner and operator of Mahaffey Farms.

Mahaffey offers things like veggies, eggs, beef, chicken and pork. The difference between the products at Mahaffey's Farms and what you find in the grocery store is that everything on the farm is grown or raised all natural with no pesticides, fertilizers or steroids.

"We raise the pig in their natural environment and how they're supposed to be. We don't even give them scraps unless it's from our garden."

McCommon said one of the big arguments in organic food is that it is too expensive. "It's not too expensive, it's worth more. Nobody ever complains that a Mercedes cost more than a Toyota and that's why we want to remind people of that. You get what you pay for. It's really really important to our customers."

McCommon said the price of his meat that he offers is about $1 more than what you would buy in a supermarket. Many grocery stores do offer options when it comes to eating organically and some even offer meats as well.

McCommon said the most significant difference between his meats, which are grass-fed, and ones you would buy in the store as far as taste is concerned would be its flavor.

"It's more pronounced. If you've been eating industrial food you're whole life and you finally get a hold of a grass fed burger then you're like, 'oh this is what beef is supposed to taste like.'"

The growing interest in clean eating has become more of a lifestyle change rather than a diet. The overwhelming number of health issues, especially in Louisiana, have led to the recent increase. Louisiana has the highest obesity rate in the country.

"Food that's been trucked 3,000 miles away and brought in is not as nutrient dense and it's not as healthy," McCommon says. "Eating healthier makes you feel better. When you feel better you do more."

Shady Grove farms in Jefferson, Texas also offers many organically grown options when it comes to clean eating. They too have grass-fed beef, pork and chicken.

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