Farmers Market Season: 10 Reasons To Shop
It’s summer, and in WNY that means it’s farmer’s market season! Farmer’s markets are a great way to stock up on fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers and homemade goodies for the week. There are so many great reasons to take advantage of farmer’s market season. Here are some of our favorites.
1) Support your local farmers! They work really hard. It’s difficult for small farms to succeed in today’s global economy. There’s a pretty good chance some of the fruit in your kitchen right now spent time in China, unless you bought it directly from a local farmer. Keep your money and your produce local.
2) Unbeatable quality. Unless you grow it yourself, it won’t get fresher than this. You’ll be able to taste the difference. In some cases, you might learn for the first time what your favorite fruit is supposed to taste like!
3) Transparency. You may be surprised to learn that mass producers are required to disclose very few of the processes their produce undergoes. From artificial coloring to pesticide use to secret additives, you can be confident that when you buy from a farmer, there are no tricks. Just fresh, delicious food.
4) Buy from the experts. While the produce manager at your local grocery store may have a lot of knowledge on various fruits and vegetables, it won’t compare to the knowledge held by the people who grew it themselves. They can tell you which of their apples are best RIGHT NOW or will get you exactly the kind of pie you want. Not to mention advice on things like canning and storing. Not sure what kohlrabi is or how to eat it? Looking for a new way to prepare your favorite fruit? Go ahead and ask. People love discussing their passions.
5) Community! Whether your local farmer’s market is held in a parking lot or a grassy park, it’s a great way to spend some time enjoying the fresh air and seeing members of your community come together with a common interest in feeding their families fresh, healthy food. Some of them even let you bring your furry friends to partake in the fun! Weekly farmer’s markets are one of the last remaining true community hubs.
6) It’s so much more than fruits and vegetables. Local honey. Meats. Cheese and milk. Bread and pastries. Even wineries and breweries are getting in on the farmer’s market action. If it fits your budget, it’s possible to do all your shopping at a local farmer’s market – supporting local businesses and avoiding over-processed options.
7) They’re for everyone. Speaking of budgets, some local markets have found a way to accept SNAP benefits, meaning they’re working to close the gap between income and food choice. Elmwood-Bidwell is one local market that’s adopted this service. Because doesn’t everyone deserve access to fresh food?
8) Support sustainability and humane animal treatment. Unfortunately, the conventional food market in the U.S.A. is wrought with abuse of our planet and animal friends. By shopping at your farmer’s market, you’ll find meat and animal products that were produced humanely, and fruits and vegetables that are farmed with sustainability in mind.
9) Take care of yourself (and your family). We all understand the need for convenient options and budget constraints. But fresh fruits and vegetables and wholesome foods are essential to your health. Why not get the most delicious options (that also come with a surplus of other benefits)? Even if you just pick one or two fresh, seasonal items to swap out from your normal shopping list, you’re doing your body a favor.
10) Do it for the kids. Your children will benefit from knowing that food doesn’t come from “the store.” Let them pick out their own fruit, or a vegetable to try. Let them meet the farmers who are growing their food and ask questions. Not only will it get them outside, it might get them interested in a lifetime of healthy food choices.
There are so many reasons to add a local farmer’s market to your shopping rotation or weekly activities schedule. We’re passionate about healthy choices, and believe that farmer’s markets are a great way to introduce some healthy habits into your family’s lives. What are your favorite reasons to visit your local farmer’s market? Share them on our Facebook page.
For a list of local farmer’s markets, check out Step Out Buffalo.