10 Reasons Why Farmers Markets are Awesome
Farmers market season is in full bloom in much of the U.S. Farmers markets are awesome and any greenie should go and support their local farmers market.
Here are my top 10 reasons why farmers markets rock:
- You can support local farmers instead of big, corporate factory farms.
- Shopping at the farmers markets helps you to eat seasonally and local. Eating local foods has many environmental benefits, including lowering your carbon footprint.
- You can find all sorts of yummy things aside from produce. You can also find local meats, dairy, jams, and baked goods (sooo hard to resist) at many farmers markets.
- The produce is fresher and fantastic. It hasn't been sitting in a truck while making a cross country trek.
- Many small farmers use little or no pesticides. Talk to the farmers and find out about their pesticide use. While the produce may not be USDA certified organic, as certification is very costly, it might still be pesticide free.
- It will save you money! Usually the produce is substantially cheaper than at the grocery store. If you're using the produce to cook with (i.e., making jams or sauces), sometimes you can get crates of slightly damaged fruit for dirt cheap. If you want to save even more money, go towards the end. Often the farmers don't want to haul the unsold produce back to their farms, so they'll sell it at a discount before the market closes.
- Lots of times farmers markets have live music and craft vendors. It's like a miniature festival!
- It stimulates the local economy by keeping money in the community.
- Less packaging...especially if you bring your own bags! Usually most of the items won't be prepackaged, and they just need to be put in a bag and brought home.
- You can get to know some local farms and farmers. Some of the farms might offer u-pick produce, some might have animals you can visit, and some might have CSAs. Many farmers can offer advice on how to prepare different fruits and veggies. They'll also be able to answer questions about their produce. You won't get that kind of experience at Stop & Shop!
Find a farmers market near you at http://www.localharvest.org/