I love a good Farmer’s Market. I love them so much I used to manage the local market in our old neighborhood. There is something about setting up pop-up tents, getting to know the farmers and hanging out outside for a few hours that has me looking forward to Saturday morning even more than usual. Here are my 10 most favorite things about Farmers’ Markets and why you should find your local market – TODAY!
1. Cost - Did you think that Farmers’ Markets were more costly? Think again! You are getting the produce straight from the source, without a grocery store getting in the middle. Depending on the rules for the market, some allow bartering or negotiating prices or deals. Also – if you are at the market towards the end of the day, farmers may be willing to lower prices even more so they don’t have to bring the goods back to the farm
2. Shopping Local - This is a biggie. You are supporting local agriculture and that speaks volumes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Michigander girl who loves a good Great Lakes apple (even if it has to travel across multiple state lines), but if I can get one from the local farmer less than 10 miles away, you bet your apple-bottom that’s what I’m going to do.
3. Farm to Table – This definitely ties in with supporting local farming. Farm to table means getting rid of the middle man. Your carrots are getting pulled from the dirt at 6 am, sold to you at 10 am and cut up into a salad by dinnertime. THAT is what farm to table is and it doesn’t get any fresher than that!
4. Meet the professional food growers –You are usually dealing directly with the farmer themselves, or someone who knows the farming process. Ask questions! “How long does this take to grow from seed to fruit?” “What is the taste difference between these two peppers?” “what is the best way to cut this up?” These guys and gals are the experts and they will LOVE to educate you on their goods. Farmers are the best. They take pride in what they do and love when you take extra interest.
5.Freshest quality – Looking for that instagram-worthy basket of strawberries? Get there when the market opens. All of the prettiest produce will be displayed at the beginning of the day. I’ve seen vendors roll into a market with dirt on their jeans because they just finished gathering their potatoes for the market. You can’t get any fresher unless you are doing the farming yourself.
6. Find out what is in season – Fresh means in-season. You wont see apples at the market in May like you do at the grocery store. You can learn about growing seasons just by looking around. Ask your favorite vendor what you can start looking forward to in the weeks to come.
7. Taste testing – In my experience, all you have to do is ask. If there aren’t samples out already, go ahead and say “are these peaches super sweet?” and before you know it they will be cutting one up for you.
8. Rest assured safety – Farmers Markets are regulated and inspected by the local health department to make sure vendors are following code. The vendors also must provide liability insurance and vendor licenses to sell their goods. Certified organic growers are regulated as well so be on the lookout for their large signs that say ORGANIC! They are proud of their certification and will display it.
9. Meet your neighbors – nothing says 'I love my community' like a warm Saturday morning at the local farmers market. This is where you go to get your produce, baked goods and flowers all while enjoying local musicians, food trucks and your neighbors. Ride your bike down and stay a while!
10. Year Round Goodness – If you live somewhere with seasons, your Farmer’s Market will most likely end in the fall (Man, I miss living in SoCal with a year round market!). How do you continue getting the good stuff after the market season is over? Ask around at your favorite booths to find out if they participate in a CSA program (CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture). They will deliver the goods right to your doorstep! It’s the best way to get the farm to table experience all year round
Need help finding the closest farmers’ market? Check out local harvest to find one near you!
Hi I’m Lindsey. I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and I’m a cheerleader for health enrichment. My passion is education and that is the driving force behind the blog I created, Raise A Little Kale. Nutrition is a very broad topic and everyone seems to have something to say about it. I crave cited sources so you can rest assured that the information you are reading is factual and science-based. I want to empower people to take back their health and live the best life they can. Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand when it comes to health promotion so there is plenty of workout posts as well. Everyone needs to start somewhere, I hope you start at Raise A Little Kale!