Myth of High Prices at the Farmers Market

I still hear people say they cannot afford to shop at a farmers’ market. They argue only the well heeled can afford to buy free-range eggs and heirloom tomatoes at those pricey venues.

The only thing is, that idea does not stand up to scrutiny. A 2011 study for the Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont turned up surprising results. Prices were actually lower at the farmers’ markets, particularly for organic items.

Those findings were similar to what the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture discovered in a 2009 survey of Iowa products. And two years earlier, University of Washington students compared prices between a Seattle supermarket and a nearby farmers’†market.†In all three cases — Vermont, Iowa, and Seattle — farmers’ markets prices were generally lower than or, at worst, equal to supermarket prices.

These are only the most widely publicized results. One of the common reasons for not buying from local farmers turns out to be based on a story that does not bear up under scrutiny.†Do a test at a market nearby, and you will likely be surprised by the results.

Besides, the experience of shopping at a farmers’ market makes food buying into an adventure instead of just a chore.

Join the Food Revolution

Farmersí markets are a good place to join the Food Revolution. You can also check out the Food Revolution Map to see where things are happening in your community.

If shopping at a farmers’ market just doesn’t feel like a fit for you, don’t despair. In Seattle, you can contribute to a community e-cookbook. Or get involved with a community garden in Crete, Nebraska.

Boise, Idaho has jumped on board to bring the community together through fresh, local foods. A group of young chefs in Downington, Pennsylvania are determined to change their communityís knowledge and health concerning food.

If your city isn’t on the map, gather allies and become a Food Revolution Community with your own, unique focus.†And if being part of a larger movement is not your thing, don’t despair. On Saturday, May 19th, you can still be part of Jamie Oliverís Food Revolution by shopping at your local farmersí market.

Related Care Stories

Join the Food Revolution at Your Farmers Market

5 Reasons to Support Your Farmers Market

Reinstating Local Food, Local Rules

Photo credit: Cathryn Wellner


W. C
W. C9 hours ago

Thank you.

Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Oleg Kobetz
Oleg Kobets3 years ago

Thank you

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

it depends on the area. A lot of the time I find that little road side stands are cheaper. You can also grow the fruits or veggies you eat most yourself, even if you live in the city. You can have an urban garden. It is very satisfying to grow your own food, and you KNOW there are no chemicals or hormones in them!

Dale Overall

It really depends on where your Farmer's Markets are located when it comes to prices.
I live in a small town right by rural areas and the produce price is not bad at all and often one can go for a drive and farmers have their own stands right by the roadside and many good purchases for fresher than fresh farm produce is available.

I find the produce tasty and delightful!

Hali Cespedes-Chorin

It depends on the market and the season. The prices where I live tend to be a bit higher, but you can find vendors, especially towards the end, who are willing to cut you a deal. And there is an excellent market run by the ag students at Cal Poly Pomona with REALLY good prices.

One thing that troubles me is that some "farmers' markets" seem to just offer conventionally grown produce at grocery-store prices. I'd rather buy organic food in a grocery store than conventional food at the farmers' market.

Patricia L.
Patricia L.5 years ago

The cost of shopping at a farmers market will vary from market to market.

I have no car, only a bicycle, and can only access a few of the farmers markets in Phoenix, the city I live in. The markets I can access are twice what I will pay if I shop Trader Joe's and 5 to 6 times higher than a supermarket that appeals to a Spanish speaking clientele. The best prices on produce in town are at 'Mexican Supermarkets', who can beat 7 pounds of onions for one dollar? The farmers markets can't.

I still shop the farmers markets since they offer types of produce - comb honey, heirloom tomatoes, Chinese eggplant, yellow squash etc - that I don't find in conventional supermarkets. I also shop farmers market for the feeling that I did something good, something 'local.'

I worry about the farmer's markets I can access, I believe some of them are a bit misleading, perhaps fraudulent. The produce in the 'Mexican supermarkets' is grown as close to me as the produce in the farmer's markets. Both derive produce grown from as far away as California or Colorado, but the farmer's market have the advantage of unusual produce, organics, and the claim that none of the offerings are GMOs.

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B5 years ago


Sheri P.
Sheri P5 years ago

shopping at the farmers' market is definitely affordable and is way more fun than going to the supermarket... i hope we can crush the myths for good...and soon!