Farmers’ Market 101

farmers' market

Get your farm on

I love a good Farmers’ Market. I love them so much I used to manage the local market where we used to live. There is something about setting up pop-up tents, getting to know the farmers and hanging out outside for a few hours that got me so excited every Saturday morning. Here are my 10 most favorite things about Farmers’ Markets and why you should find your local market – TODAY!

Cost

Did you think that a Farmers’ Market was more costly? No way! You are getting the produce straight from the source, without a grocery store getting in the middle. Depending on the rules for the market, some Farmers’ Markets could allow bartering or negotiating prices or deals. Also – if you are at the market towards the end of the day, farmers may be willing to lower prices even more so they don’t have to bring the goods back to the farm

 

Shopping Local

This is a biggie. You are supporting local agriculture and that speaks volumes. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a Michigander girl who loves a good Great Lakes apple (even if it has to travel across multiple state lines), but if I can get one from the local farmer less than 10 miles away, you bet your apple-bottom that’s what I’m going to do.

Farm to Table

This definitely ties in with supporting local farming. Farm to table means getting rid of the middleman. Your carrots are getting pulled from the dirt at 6 am, sold to you at 10 am and cut up into a salad by dinnertime. THAT is what farm to table is and it doesn’t get any fresher than that, folks

Meet the professional food growers

You are usually dealing directly with the farmer themselves, or someone who knows the farming process. Ask questions! “How long does this take to grow from seed to fruit?” “What is the taste difference between these two peppers?” “what is the best way to cut this up?” These guys and gals are the experts and they will LOVE to educate you on their goods. Farmers are the best. They LOVE what they do and they are proud of it.

Freshest quality

Looking for that instagram worthy basket of strawberries? Get there when the Farmers’ Market opens. All of the prettiest produce will be displayed and ready to be bought. I’ve seen vendors roll into a market with dirt on their jeans because they just finished gathering their potatoes for the market. You can’t get any fresher unless you are doing the farming yourself.

Find out what is in season

Fresh means in-season. You won’t see apples at the market in May like you do at the grocery store. You can learn about growing seasons just by looking around. Ask your favorite vendor what you can start looking forward to in the weeks to come.

Taste testing

In my experience, all you have to do is ask. If there aren’t samples out already, go ahead and say “are these peaches super sweet?” and before you know it they will be cutting one up for you. You can’t get this kind of customer service at the grocery store, that’s for sure!

Rest assured safety

Your Farmers’ Market is regulated and inspected by the local health department to make sure vendors are following code. The vendors also must provide liability insurance and vendor licenses to sell their goods. Certified organic growers are regulated as well – so be on the lookout for their large signs that say ORGANIC! They are proud of their certification and will display it J

Meet your neighbors

Nothing says “I love my community” like a warm Saturday morning at the local farmers’ market. This is where you go to get your produce, baked goods and flowers all while enjoying local musicians, food trucks and your neighbors. Ride your bike down and stay a while!

Year Round Goodness

If you live somewhere with seasons, your Farmers’ Market will most likely end in the fall (Man, I miss living in SoCal with a year round market!). How do you continue getting the good stuff after the market season is over? Ask around at your favorite booths to find out if they participate in a CSA program (CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture). They will deliver the goods right to your doorstep! It’s the best way to get the farm to table experience all year round

Wow, I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. Need help finding the closest farmers’ market? Check out this great resource: https://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/

And get shopping!

Lindsey