8 Reasons to Shop at a Farmer's Market

child picking apples at farmer's market
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Our family has been so inspired by shopping at the local farmer’s market. The vegetables are so vibrant in color and fresh. We love to see what’s available then find recipes to try with our find, and, amazingly, when the kids take part in selecting (and possibly harvesting) from the bounty at a farmer’s market, they are more adventurous in what they taste and enjoy.

Why You Should Shop at a Farmer's Market

There are multiple reasons to shop locally at your farmer’s market or at a local farmer’s stand.

Here are a few to consider:

  1. Fresh produce, picked at the peak of ripeness. The produce at your local farmer’s market or at the farmer’s stand is usually picked right before selling, rather than being picked prior to ripening, traveling thousands of miles, and sitting in storage. This means fresh produce and delicious flavors. 
  2. In-season produce. The farmer’s market allows you to enjoy what your area has to offer during each of the seasons. This adds variety to your diet, which is good for both varying your nutrient intake and keeping your meals new and exciting. And when you are visiting a new area, it’s always fun to stop by the local farmer’s market to see the differences in the seasonal produce and to try something you may not usually get to enjoy.
  3. Supporting local economy and local farmers. By buying from local farmers, you are supporting your community. Also, by buying directly from the farmer as opposed to buying the farmer’s produce at the supermarket, the farmer is getting a greater return on his produce.
  1. Something new. Shopping at your local farmer’s market allows you to see the bounty of your area and can inspire you to try something new or try a new preparation. I have shared many recipes while shopping at our farmer’s stand. For example, when I was buying mustard greens for the second time, I shared my recipe success with the farmer’s wife. She wanted to try the recipe that I used and I found out that she made a wonderful soup with her mustard greens.  Guess what we did for our second helping of mustards?
  1. Fun family event. Shopping at the farmer’s market can involve the whole family. Everyone can pick something, or you can all take turns picking on different trips. It’s a chance for the whole family to learn more about what needs to happen to produce the foods that the family is eating. You may even be inspired to grow some vegetables, fruits, or herbs yourselves.
  2. Helps the environment. On average, the typical American prepared meal contains ingredients from at least five countries outside of the United States. Also, food in the United States, on average, travels 1500 miles to get to your plate. Think of the environmental impact of the transportation required. Compare that to a local farmer transporting his crop to the farmer’s market even 30 miles away. Also, local farmers require less packaging than commercial agriculture, and they usually grow their foods while trying to minimally impact the environment. 
  3. Organic produce. Many farmers offer organic produce at more affordable prices at farmer’s markets. The produce may not be certified organic, but you can talk to the farmer about his methods to determine if it’s right for you. You may even be able to visit the farm.
  1. Other treasures await. You may find other treasures, like locally made honey, flavored soy nuts, baked items, and others that may not be available in the grocery store.

Certain websites allow you to find a local farmer’s market by zip code. They may not include all farmer’s markets but can help you get started. To grow your fresh fruit and vegetable horizons and add vibrant produce to your dining repertoire, consider giving your business to your local farmers.  They’ll appreciate the support while you reap the benefits of their ripe, in-season bounty.

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