Last weekend we were at one of our local farmers markets, enjoying the sunshine, looking at some great succulents (we are in a drought after all and they look fabulous in our candle containers when you repurpose them!) sampling some fresh almonds, tasting some local honey (my husband was, I wasn't, I'm vegan) and looking at a variety of local crafts. We are so fortunate that our farmers markets are open year round.
We stopped at one of our favorite fruit stands and took a sample of one of the most delicious peaches we had even eaten. The farmer told us that the fruit had been picked less than 24 hours ago… imagine that; just yesterday it was still on a tree! That is how most of the fruits and vegetables are when you shop at a farmers market, not sitting on a warehouse dock, waiting to get on a truck that will be travelling thousands of miles to get to your local supermarket. Also, a lot of times, produce is picked too early with the hope that it will ripen in transit or once it is sitting on the supermarket shelf.
Here are some of the top reasons we love supporting our local farmers markets:
Meeting the Farmers! It is so great to see who has grown your food and really appreciate the fact that they have put their heart and soul into providing nourishing food for you.
Everything you see is local and in season! You know that it was grown a couple of hours away and not half way around the world in some instances.
You have something in common with some of the top Chefs in the country! You have access to the same fresh ingredients that they do! A lot of the best chefs shop at their local farmers markets and base their menus on what is in season and what they can get locally. So, a menu item you ordered today may not be available next week. These are our favorite types of restaurants.
You can find great handmade items, such as hand poured soy candles! A lot of farmers markets include local artisans who make a variety of great products.
Finding new fruits and vegetables! Have you ever heard of burdock or cactus pads (these are vegetables), how about cherimoyas or jujubes (these are fruits)? We hadn’t either, but our local farmers market had all of these. Take that big box grocery stores!
Getting to try samples! The farmers want to show off their crops, and want you to try them. Believe me, they are so fresh and delicious you’ll want to buy them all.
Get tips on how to cook the food! The farmers will have ideas for how to cook the food that you may not have thought of, and for those new items you hadn’t heard of before, they can help you with cooking tips for those as well.
Easy to find organic options! We are lucky enough to have a lot of organic farms near us. But there are also some farmers who haven’t been certified organic, but can tell us exactly what they have used in the soil, and it isn’t toxic chemicals.
It’s fun! We really love going to our local farmers market and interacting with the farmers, the craft vendors and the plant guy (that’s what we call him, the plant guy!). There is a real sense of community and we like supporting our local people.
Don’t forget to bring your own bags! You don’t want to be doing something great for you and the environment and then ruin it by using plastic bags that the farmers have to provide in case you forgot!
What are your favorite reasons for shopping at your local farmers markets?