1. Fresh = longer lasting.
You may think of the fruits and vegetables at your grocery store as being fresh when you see the produce being loaded onto the displays from crates, but how fresh is it really? Where was it shipped from? Halfway across the country probably. In some cases it comes from another country. It’s been picked, packaged and shipped to a warehouse. Then it is shipped from the warehouse to the grocery stores.
At a farmer’s market you will often see signs telling you when the produce was picked from the farmer’s fields. Usually the signs will say picked yesterday or picked this morning. That is what fresh should mean. Because this food has not spent time in the shipping process before you buy it, the food will stay fresh for that much longer.
This is one the biggest reasons people buy produce at farmer’s markets. The difference in the taste between the tomatoes, carrots and strawberries found in a farmer’s market compared to what you would buy in a grocery store is hard to believe until you actually eat one right after another. Their just seems to be much more flavor in the locally grown items.
3. More than vegetables.
If you think all that you’ll find at a farmer’s market is vegetables, you’re quite wrong. In addition to the vegetables you’ll often find fruit, flowers, preserves, herbs and farm grown pork and beef products.
4. No need for reading labels
We’ve become accustomed to reading labels to find out the details about what we are buying in the grocery store. No need for this at the farmer’s market. If you have any questions about what you’re buying, you can simply ask the vendor selling the products. They’ll be able to tell you where and how the produce has been grown and what the animals graced on for the meat products.
Yes, you’ll find a variety of different products but the variety goes beyond that. Instead of simply finding ‘carrots’, for instance, you may find many different varieties of carrots. Even purple carrots can be found in addition to the traditional orange ones. Many different varieties of tomatoes, corn, squash, onions, beans etc.
If you are looking for large quantities of produce for canning or freezing, the farmer’s market is the perfect place to shop. Many fine restaurant’s do their shopping for produce at farmer’s market for this reason, in addition to the high quality of products to be found.
7. Support local growers
By shopping your local farmer’s market, you are putting money back into the local economy and assisting your local growers in their ability to continue providing their products to you.
8. Learning experience
The vendors at a farmer’s market have a wealth of information about their product that they can share with you. They can explain the difference between the different species of a product such as which tomatoes are best canning and which are better eaten fresh. Often times they can also give you new ideas and recipes for the preparation of their produce.
9. Organic food without organic prices
In order for food to be labeled as organic, farmers are required to follow certain procedures and have those procedures documented by government agencies. Many times you will find that much of the food sold at farmer’s markets is grown organically even when it isn’t labeled as such. The only way to know for certain is to ask the growers about methods used on their farm.
As you begin to make the farmer’s market a regular part of your shopping routine, you will begin to get to know the different growers and perhaps some of the other patrons shopping there. The atmosphere itself is much relaxed and conducive to building relationships between growers and their customers.
In these days where we spend so much time rushing from one place to another looking for convenience in everything we do, the farmer’s market is great place to slow down and make some wise and healthy choices for our families.