Happy Foodie Friday! In this month’s newsletter, I listed my top 7 foods to buy at the Farmer’s Market this season. But what are the reasons to shop at the Farmer’s Market anyway? I’ve told you that I adore the Farmer’s Market and treat it as one of my little indulgences, and I hope this Top 7 list encourages YOU to head to your own Farmer’s Market, too! If you want a listing of the Farmer’s Markets in your area, click here or here (there are over 8,000 in the US, and over $7 billion of local food was sold last year!).
Top 7 Reasons to Shop at the Farmer’s Market
- You will support local farmers and businesses. You probably knew this one was coming, because it’s the most common reason for shopping at the Farmer’s Markets. When you see the farmers in person and have a conversation with them, though, it’s hard not to want to support their hard work. Small farms require a ton of manual labor, are often unsubsidized, and are subject to a lot of volatility (weather, pests, demand, competition, etc.). So every little bit of support we can give back to the small, local farmers helps!
- You’re more likely to be excited about eating fruits and vegetables. I talked in this post about the proven fact that we’re more likely to eat what is in plain sight in our kitchens, and encouraged you to keep a variety of fruits and vegetables on your kitchen counters and in visible places in your refrigerator. Well, what better way to feel excited about the fruits and vegetables that are available to you than to shop for them yourself at the Farmer’s Market? Just by going to the effort of getting there, walking through the stalls, and picking out your produce, I can almost guarantee that you’ll feel more motivated to eat it! This tip works for your kids, too!
- It’s often cheaper to buy organic produce at the Farmer’s Market. We all know that organic produce is generally more expensive (and I talk in this guest post about whether or not I think it’s important to buy organic), but at the Farmer’s Market, I often find it for cheaper than what I’d have to pay at my local grocery store. It also helps to talk to the farmers or sellers – many farms grow their food “organically” (without chemicals or artificial fertilizers / pesticides), but cannot afford to be USDA certified and receive the official organic label. It’s up to your judgment here, but I still feel great about buying this produce.
- It’s more environmentally sustainable. True – some stands at the Farmer’s Market actually buy imported produce from wholesalers (I asked about apples last weekend, and most were from Washington), but in general, a lot of the produce at the Farmer’s Market has traveled less distance than the produce you’d find in grocery stores, making it friendlier to the environment. Did you know that the average American meal travels 1500+ miles to arrive on your plate? Hopefully shopping at Farmer’s Markets reduces that distance by a significant amount.
- It’s a fun way to teach your kids (or learn yourself!) about the growing process. Most of the farmers I talk to are very open to explaining the growing process, or teaching me more about the produce. What a fun way to educate your kids during the summer and get them excited about healthy foods!
- You get a free snack. I know this one sounds a little ridiculous, but I honestly look forward to the samples at the Farmer’s Market every single time! The sellers will put out samples of their best-tasting produce (good marketing!), so the bites you get are pure deliciousness. Cucumber slices, tomatoes sprinkled with sea salt, jicama with cayenne, freshly sliced pineapple, oranges, berries, you name it – I love all the samples!
- You’re more likely to buy seasonal produce, and a wider variety of produce. Even if seasonal produce is available in your grocery store, we tend to get into a routine in the grocery store – buying the same produce items week after week. When you see the bright colors, beautiful displays, and interesting layouts at the Farmer’s Market, you’re more likely to be attracted to the seasonal (nutrient-rich!) produce, as well as to step out of your comfort zone and try new varieties of produce. (Reminder: If you’re meal planning, and you’re not sure what’s in season, let me send you a seasonal produce guide to reference!)
So what are you waiting for? Head to your Farmer’s Market this weekend!
So tell me in the comments … Do you enjoy the Farmer’s Market? What are your favorite reasons to shop at the Farmer’s Market? If you could buy only one fruit or vegetable, what would it be?
Ugh I wish I could go to the Farmer’s Market more often, but ours is so far away! I love getting fresh fruits and veggies from there on a breezy spring/fall morning! As a part of our wellness initiatives at work, we do have a fruit/veggie guy that comes out on Wednesdays and we are able to purchase fresh fruit/veggies from here. Its a great alternative!
Wow, Britton, what a great service that your company offers! I love the idea of having fresh produce delivered to the office! Keep up the good work!
YES! I love my local farmers market – for all those reasons! I also love having a chat to the suppliers – we’ve got to know each other now that it’s a weekly visit. Some even give me random discounts – definitely doesn’t happen at a grocery store!
The ones around me aren’t quite as nice-looking as yours (nor do I ever see samples, lol), but I do love shopping at them. Sometimes the price is better, and sometimes not. (seems like at the one by me at least, if the price is better, it’s waaay better).
No samples?! That takes out half the fun of the Farmer’s Market! 🙂 I agree that you have to shop around to get the best price, though!
I need to start going to the Farmer’s Market. The one near me just opened last weekend, so maybe I’ll make it there tomorrow!
Did you make it to the Farmer’s Market, Lisa? I hope you enjoyed!
I enjoy the Farmer’s Market but find it overwhelming at times. There are so many vendors selling similar things that I never know which to go to! And then if I look at someone’s table and DON’T buy anything I feel guilty….is that weird??
If you could buy only one fruit or vegetable, what would it be?— Parsnips. I’m currently obsessed/addicted/in love. Although out of season I’ve found one local grocery store that still carries them. I’ve been going in to that store weekly just for parsnips and clearing out their stock!
Oh I totally hear you, Kerry. I definitely end up leaving the Farmer’s Market with more than I originally intended to buy – but it’s a win-win, I guess … more produce eating for me, more money for them :). I love parsnips, too! So good in a cauliflower mash, or roasted as “fries,” or cooked into egg scrambles!
All great reasons but that may be because I already love shopping at out farmer’s market 🙂
I love it too, Jill – that’s why it was so easy to write this post 🙂
LOVE LOVE LOVE my farmer’s market. I look forward to my saturday mornings every week.
So fun, Caren! What did you buy this Saturday?
Great Post Meghan, that’s what I love the most about this time of year — Farmer’s Markets!
I hope you enjoy a few trips this season, Anne!
I absolutely love the farmer’s market. The one in my town is HUGE and I’m lucky enough to live only about a 2 minute bike ride away. Doing my shopping in the sun and grabbing a cheap and fresh baked good while I do so is so much fun! I want to buy some fresh flowers to keep in my room and make it feel like summer.
I’m so glad you have a convenient market so close, Georgia Mae! It sounds wonderful! And flowers are such a great touch – we often have them around our house, too!
Yes, Yes, Yes! I love our farmers market!!! I would buy a cucumber and grapes!
I DID buy a cucumber and grapes this weekend, Lauren – funny!
I love Farmer’s Markets! My three favorite reasons for going there are 1) the food stays fresh longer 2) the food tastes WAY better, and 3) it’s fun to talk with the growers and build a relationship with them. I was really surprised how much better the produce tasted and how much longer it lasted! I need to go again real soon. Thanks, Megan!
I hope you ended up going to the Farmer’s Market, Lori! I agree that the food somehow tastes better – it’s at the peak of freshness and is so amazing!
I have never been to a farmer’s market, but I have wanted to for a while now. I definitely plan on going this summer. I can’t go tomorrow because Ryan and I will be gone all week, but when we get back I hope I can go. Which one do you go to?
I hope you’re having fun at camp right now, Becky! I always go to the Dallas Farmer’s Market downtown – it’s open 362 days per year! But this weekend I went to the St. Michael’s Farmer’s Market near Preston Center … it was very small and more focused on baked goods, but still super fun!
I’ve always wanted to go to a farmer’s market but never been actually! There isn’t one near me and it’s a little sad. My university has three campus and one of them actually has a farmer’s market! I was definitely jealous when I found out 🙁
Oh bummer, Carmy! I hope you can find one and find a way to go – it’s such a fun experience!
Great reminder. See you there on Saturday. 🙂
Thanks for going with me and splitting the produce, Mom!
Great list and so true! We have a lot of local businesses in our area and try to support them whenever possible.
Here is another reason – it is fun and the people are great!
There are not too many in our area, and the way they work are that they are mostly open one or two days, and generally during the week – many farms open up farmstands or do ‘you pick’ things on the weekends, so the markets are like 10-2 on a Thursday. Now that I am not working out of downtown Corning I don’t get to the market there much.
We might head to Ithaca to check out Cornell and Ithaca College with the boys this weekend, and they have a great Saturday market …
One fruit or vegetable? Um, yeah right – not even going to TRY! haha – I love them ALL!
Yes! How could I forget about the pure fun of it? Interesting that the markets in your area have tougher hours, but I hope you ended up getting to one near Cornell / Ithaca!
Everything always looks better at the Farmer’s market. I don’t think ours is less expensive though. It does have better choices and quality though. Thanks for reminding me to hit it tomorrow
Did you end up hitting the Farmer’s Market, Deborah? Some things are cheaper for me and others are more expensive. For example, I can get a huge bucket of organic zucchini at the Farmer’s Market for $3, which would probably cost $6+ at the grocery store. On the flip side, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and apples are usually more expensive at the Farmer’s Market, but I think that may be because they’re often imported?
I lovelovelove farmer’s markets–I used to go to the ones in Charlottesville and NYC all the time. The ones in Chicago are really great as well, but they are a bit farther from me, so it is more difficult to go. Plus I love to go with people, and my husband works all the time. Sadface. But I will likely just go on my own. And eat alllll the samples.
I hope you still go, even if it’s on your own, Susie! I don’t know where you live, but I used to live in Evanston and loved the tiny Farmer’s Market there – people were very friendly!