Choosing to Shop Local
By: Rebecca Cline
Fresh, nutritious, and local is the way to be when choosing your food, and the good news is that farmers markets support nutrition all in this way! Do you know where your local market is? Here are the basics on why you should choose local and shop at a farmers market.
What is a farmers market?
A farmers market is a public shop where local farmers sell their own produce directly to the consumers. Most markets typically run from the spring months and through the fall; however, some markets, depending on location, are able to operate year-round. Markets can vary in shape and size as some include vendors who gather for only a few times during the year while others meet more consistently. Markets can also vary depending on the food concentration. For instance, some focus only on produce while others may also supply baked goods, meat, eggs, flowers, dairy products, and even crafts.
One of the best parts about a farmers market is that the farmer is right there at the booth. This means that you are able to ask any questions you have about the fruit or vegetable, learn about how it was grown, or even discover new recipes or ways to prepare the food.
Why should I shop at a farmers market?
1. There is a wide variety of fresh, healthy options. At a farmers market, there are less temptations of packaged sweets and other processed foods. True nourishment comes from the nutrient-dense fresh fruits and vegetables that are readily available.
2. You can support local farmers and connect with your community. Farmers markets are the perfect place to meet up with friends, bring children, enjoy the social atmosphere, and get some physical activity in by walking around.
3. There are no unanswered questions about where the food comes from. Meeting the farmer who has grown the food is a great opportunity to learn more about how and where the food is produced.
4. You can enjoy peak flavors and purchase what is in season. This food is fresh from the farm and brought directly to the market, so these fruits and vegetables are going to be the ripest and tastiest at the time of purchase. The fall season is right around the corner, so a new variety of fresh produce will be coming into season. Click here to see what is going to be harvested this fall.
For inclusive tips on how to make a farmers market accessible to shoppers with a disability, check out this article and brochure.
Use this link to find your nearest farmers market: http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/
Get additional information on farmers markets at www.farmersmarketcoalition.org.