The Bountiful Benefits of Farmers' Markets
Farmers’ markets provide high-quality produce and local food choices to local communities all over the globe. These hyper-local community events boost the local economy, and offer residents with healthy, in-season, fresh produce. Not to mention, they’re a great venue to meet and mingle with the residents in your town!
Benefits to Consumers
For consumers, the main advantage of farmers’ markets is the quality of fresh, local foods which they offer. When you buy local, you’re often buying seasonal as well – which enhances the taste of the produce. In addition, many local farmers’ markets offer organic produce, which has great health benefits of its own. Some farmers’ markets offer pasture-raised meats, free-range eggs and poultry, heirloom produce, and handmade cheeses.
If you’re not ready to head out to the nearest farmers market just yet, keep in mind that prices at farmers’ markets are often lower than those of supermarkets, since the middleman is obsolete. With great food and great prices, what more could you ask for?
Benefits to the Community
Farmer’s markets increase traffic to local businesses and bolster cohesion within the community, as they provide a place for locals to connect with other residents in the area. By buying local food at the market, you’re supporting the smaller-scale farmers who otherwise couldn’t compete with national players.
Farmers’ markets are also a great place for new residents to meet their fellow local residents and learn about the community. Strike up a conversation over fresh produce, engage in discussions about meal preparation, and next thing you know you’ll be swapping recipes with your new neighbors and hosting community dinner parties – and what better way to make friends than over a great, local meal?
How to Locate a Farmers’ Market
If you’re looking for the best farmers’ market in your area, a great place to start is by visiting the Agricultural Marketing Service site from the United States Department of Agriculture. Simply type in your zip code and they’ll produce a list of farmers’ markets within the area. Another helpful directory is Local Harvest. Both of these websites will provide you with more useful information about farmers’ markets and let you know exactly how to find them.