The farmer’s market opened for the season today. If you think a kid gets excited in a candy store…you should see me at a farmer’s market. My eyes bug out and it’s difficult for me to contain my excitement. My feet skim over the pebbled parking lot from car to venue while I mutter, “Please don’t trip…please don’t trip.” I am not graceful and I’ve been known to fall going up the stairs. Once I’m amidst the crowd of shoppers and surrounded by the local farmers selling their gorgeous produce and homemade foods, I exhale. I’m in my element.
Aside from my addiction to fresh, locally grown produce, there are many reasons why I frequent the farmer’s market several times a week.
1. Everything is fresh! The produce for sale is the freshest possible and was more than likely picked early that morning. It’s not like the produce at the grocery store that has been sitting there for several days. You can smell and taste the difference. Just pick up a pepper or tomato from the farmer’s market and smell it. You’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
2. You’re supporting local farmers. The vendors at a farmer’s market are local and this is what they do for a living. They are providing you with fresh grown produce. I would much rather hand over a few bucks to a local farmer for a pint of cherry tomatoes than a cashier at the grocery store. Keep the local farmers in business.
3. It’s more than produce. Farmer’s markets generally have other homemade goods that are offered. You can find homemade jams and jellies, farm fresh artisan cheeses, homemade breads, made from scratch baked goods and so much more. This stuff is fresh, all natural and nothing beats homemade.
4. It’s a great place to bring the kids. It’s an ideal place for kids to learn about fresh food and where it comes from. Ask a kid where the salad they’re eating came from and you’ll hear, “The grocery store.” Sad, but true. Take them to a farmer’s market so they can learn how things are grown and harvested.
5. It’s cheaper. When you buy direct from local farmers, you’re eliminating the middle man and the shipping costs. That keeps the cost down and you can get more for your dollar.
6. Conversation! Some of the most interesting people I’ve talked to are local farmers. They are super friendly and love talking about what they do for a living. Not only have I gotten some useful gardening tips, but I’ve also gathered up some amazing recipe ideas. These farmers eat what they grow and you’ll be surprised at how many ways they know how to use and cook their produce. It’s delicious stuff!
7. Free samples. The vendors want you to buy their homemade products so they have no problem offering free samples. This is a wonderful way to try new foods and treat your taste buds to some of the best food around.
8. Overall experience. Twice a week I break from my daily routine and walk away from my desk to visit the farmer’s market. The entire adventure usually takes about 2 hours. It’s refreshing. I’m outdoors, around people, surrounded by amazing food and produce, I get to socialize with fascinating people and I get my fill of farmer’s market favorites.