I love where I live because in a 5 mile radius I can find at least 10 local markets, and one is open throughout the whole year. It’s more important now than ever to KNOW WHERE YOUR FOOD COMES FROM and getting to know your local markets and the farmers that provide food - is a way to do it.
Did you know that Farmers’ markets are one of the oldest forms of direct marketing by small farmers? Growers all over the world gather weekly to sell their produce directly to the public. It’s only in the last decade that they have become popular for farmers and patrons throughout the United States. Ever wonder why it’s becoming so popular? People worldwide are rediscovering the benefits of buying local food. It is fresher than anything in the supermarket and that means it is tastier and more nutritious. It is also good for your local economy–buying directly from family farmers helps them stay in business.
Farmer markets come in all shapes and sizes. Some are as small as a road side stand and others are like going to a weekly festival with music and people selling crafts and other local goods. Remember the best organic food is grown the closest to you. Wouldn’t you rather buy an apple that was shipped 10 miles instead of over a l000?
So this season head to your local Farmers Market and reap the benefits of local, nutritious foods that not only help you but the farmer too. Before heading out…make sure you read these tips!
10 Things You Should Know About A Farmers Market
1. Get there EARLY - It’s less crowded and you get your pick. If you can’t make it out of bed then that is OK, you may not get your pick but you might get some late day deals.
2. If you spend $100 at a farmers market, $62 goes back into the local economy — and $99 out of $100 stays in the state. If you spend $100 at a grocery store, only $25 stays here. So, where do you want your money to go?
3. You Get to Sample - Most of the time farmers will allow you to samples the foods before buying, can’t get that at the grocery store!
4. Don’t try and wheel and deal - The prices are fair and remember this is how they make a living!
5. Bring Reusable Bags and Small Change - Reusable bags are much better to carry produce and more eco-friendly than plastic ones, you can even use a backpack to make hauling easier, especially for weighty or bulky items.
6. Bring Small Bills and Change - Although vendors will make change, purchases will go easier and faster if you have exact (or close to exact) change. At some farmers markets “small change” means dimes and nickels. In larger urban areas many products at farmers markets are sold in dollar or fifty-cent increments.
7. Know What’s In Season - This will make meal planning easier. Don’t except peaches or corn in June. Meal Plan around the local produce you find at the Market.
8. Plan For Spontaneity - Yes, you’ll fare better if you plan your trip to the farmers market. However, you need to leave a bit of wiggle room for those items you didn’t realize would be at the market that week. Trying new items is part of the fun of going to farmer markets.
9. Think REAL food - When entering the market think of going to a farm and picking the vegetable from the earth because that is it looks like. The foods you will find will be unprocessed, un-shined and peeled veggies with yes…some dirt on them.
10. Get Advice - If you are unsure of how to cook a certain vegetable ask the farmer. The people at the market will give you tons of advice on preparing the food and even some good recipes too.