It’s the season of fresh produce! Time to head outdoors to your local farmers market and purchase a healthy basket of green beans, some glossy eggplants, a dozen fresh eggs, and other fresh produce items. Do a quick Internet search or check local papers or postings about weekly or monthly open-air and indoor markets that start in late spring and run all summer long. Here are 5 reasons to start shopping at farmers markets this summer (or all year round if your town offers it).
Support Your Local Community:
Produce vendors are almost always happy to talk (or brag!) about their succulent veggies and fruits. You can ask questions about where their produce was grown and get tips about what’s in season and what’s popular. This also stimulates the economy by keeping the purchases local and the money stays within the community to support local growers instead of corporate factory farms.
Fresh Organic Produce:
Shopping at the farmers markets allows you to eat both seasonally sensitive food. Instead of importing hardly ripe produce at ridiculous prices, shopping locally provides you with a sense of what’s available during the current season. The produce is always fresher and picked at the peak of ripeness as opposed to fruits and vegetables that have been spoiling while being transported across the country. In addition, small farmers use little or no pesticides, and they’d be happy to discuss these perks with you.
Meet New People:
This sociable way to shop is so much more personal than picking out vegetables in bulk while being sprinkled by overhead water. You will meet a variety of families and couples also equally as interested in healthy eating as you are. Exchange recipes and recommendations about meal planning and find other common hobbies.
Get Some Exercise While You’re At It:
Farmers markets are usually located in small downtown areas and are within walking or biking distances in both the city and the suburbs. Instead of driving your car just around the corner and down the street, why not make an afternoon of it? Walking or biking is a great way to keep yourself in shape and get outside while the weather is agreeable.
Learn a Few Tricks About Gardening Yourself:
While you can exchange tips for cooking the produce, you can also pick up a few tips and tricks about starting your own garden. Farmers are open minded about telling you about fruits and vegetables that you can easily grow in your yard, or even herbs on your balcony or on your kitchen window sill. With these tried and true tricks and the help of a gardening book, you can use your own green thumb to grow a few things!
Don’t forget to bring big reusable bags and bring cash! Also, farmers markets tend to get really crowded really quickly, so swoop in at the end of the day, and oftentimes you can get good deals on produce as the vendors pack up!
A lot of farmers markets also offer a variety of other goods along with produce. You can oftentimes find local meats, jams, dried fruits, floral arrangements, and baked goods while you’re at it. Have any favorite buys from farmers markets for the summer season? Let us know on Facebook!