It's friendly local farmer vendors! They are always teaching my wife and I different ways to grow things or cook something. I had a time when I was looking at some greens. I said "I really don't like them too much" to the farmer. He said did you ever try steaming them with some onions and a little sugar? We bought them went home and my wife cooked them up that way for us for supper. They were great! Now whenever I see them, we grab a bunch up.
I like buying plants in the early spring for potting. We get tomatoes and peppers, they seem to work best in the pots. The venders are always giving helpful advice on the best way to grow the plants. You don't get that at the big box stores.
Where else can you get eggs laid that day, okra and potatoes picked and washed that morning? It is hard to find any fresher produce, plants or meats than at the Lincolnton local farmers markets. If you really want to be green you can walk or ride your bike to the market and then use the Lincoln County reusable bags to put your produce in.