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5 Reasons To Shop At a Farmersí Market

5 Reasons To Shop At a Farmersí Market

You might not know it, but this week (August 5 through August 11) is National Farmers Market Week, officially designated by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack to encourage consumers to visit their local farmersí market.

To kick off National Farmersí Market Week, the USDA announced that the number of farmersí markets in the United States increased by 170 percent since 2000. There are now over 7,800 markets listed in the USDA directory, while there were just over 2,800 in 2000.

This growth makes it clear that people are increasingly supporting locally grown food and farmers. Farmersí markets are one of the easiest ways to not only support and encourage locally grown fruits and vegetables, but to support the economic viability of our farmers.

This economic support is critical in keeping our small farmers farming and in improving local communities. For me, it is the number one reason to shop at your local farmerís market.

Aside from the economic importance of shopping at one, there are some other great reasons that allow you as a consumer to benefit by shopping at a farmersí market.

First among these is the control you have over what you eat. Unlike the supermarket or big box store that have products with confusing labels or no labels, there is somebody to ask, often the grower himself or herself. If you want to know how and where something is grown, or if you arenít sure what that interesting veggie is or what to do with it, you can find out and make an informed decision about whether you want to eat it or not.

Another great benefit is that you have more choice about what you eat. You can find dozens of different fruit and vegetable varieties of one single item at a single farmersí market, instead of the two or three varieties typically found at most grocery stores.

While many people often believe that farmersí markets are more expensive, you can actually save money by eating seasonally. You can also save by doing comparison shopping between stands, checking for price and selection.

A benefit that I often write about is that, unless you grow it yourself, you are getting the freshest, tastiest produce around. There is nothing that compares with that first bite of the seasonís first plum, sweet corn, or vine-ripened tomato.

If you arenít a regular farmersí market shopper but are thinking youíd like to be, the USDA has a page where you can search for the market nearest you. It even lets you search by product, lets you know what payment types each market accepts, and has a list of winter markets.

 

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Eating for Health, Food, Green, , ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

65 comments

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5:00AM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

Yum.

10:47AM PST on Jan 30, 2013

Always! Sharing this

8:40PM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

Here in Gin Gin, the Historical Society sponsors a farmer's market each Saturday. I do all of my green grocery shopping there. The produce is often organic and absolutely fresh. The prices are much cheaper than at a super market. Let's spread the word.

11:54AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Thank you for article.

11:53AM PDT on Aug 26, 2012

Thank you for article.

11:37AM PDT on Aug 14, 2012

I had my first spaghetti squash from a farmers market. Want to buy more!

5:19PM PDT on Aug 13, 2012

I love going to the farmers market on Saturday mornings and checking out all the bounty from the area. I grow alot of things in my garden but I can't grow everything and the market is a great place to round out my vegetable picks for the week.

2:31PM PDT on Aug 12, 2012

A member of our Holistic Chamber of Commerce just sent out reminders and information of the farmers' markets in the community.

6:33AM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

Everything is fresh!

4:49AM PDT on Aug 11, 2012

on my way

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