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?