Strolling through a farmers market is a fun and cheap way to spend a summer morning. The bright colors and fresh scents are enough to draw nearly anyone in. However, farmers markets have so much more to offer than just the sights and smells. The following is a list of just a few reasons you should visit your local farmers market this summer.
1. You’ll know exactly where your food is coming from.
When you shop at a typical grocery store, you don’t always know exactly where the food you’re buying was grown. That’s the beauty of farmers markets; you get to speak face-to-face with the farmers and ranchers who produced your food. They can tell you exactly what processes they used and where the food was grown. You’re able to get all your questions answered by the person who saw your food go from their farm to your hands.
2. You’ll be helping the environment.
The food you find at grocery stores will typically travel an average of 1,500 miles before it gets to your shopping cart. All that travel means large amounts of natural resources, such as fossil fuels, are being emitted into and polluting the air. Today’s agricultural practices are also not very sustainable; producers often use toxic chemicals that contaminate water, air and land. Excess packaging used for shipping also creates more trash that winds up in oceans and landfills.
Food at farmers markets travels much shorter distances since it’s usually produced in the local area. Its sustainable farmers traditionally grow and raise organic fruits, vegetables and animal products, so their products have much less of an impact on the environment.
3. You’ll be promoting the safe treatment of animals.
The animals whose byproducts are found at farmers markets usually have had natural diets and have grazed on green grass. They don’t spend time in cages or unnatural living conditions like conventional agricultural animals do. At farmers markets, you are getting meats, cheeses and eggs from animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics. When you buy animal byproducts from farmers markets, you can feel better knowing you’ve supported farmers who treat their animals safely and humanely.
4. You can learn cooking tips and recipes.
The farmers and ranchers whose food you’re buying will know better than anyone how to prepare delicious recipes. They’re often cooks themselves, so they can tell you the best seasonings to use and which cooking techniques work best with each product. It’s like getting a free cooking lesson with your purchase!
5. You’ll be supporting local farmers and ranchers.
Supporting local businesses is important to a thriving community, and so is buying from local farmers. Small family farms are currently having a hard time competing with agribusiness, or large-scale agricultural production. Buying your food directly from these farmers and ranchers sustains their livelihoods and gives them a chance against big-name corporations.
6. You can find foods you wouldn’t normally see in a grocery store.
Farmers markets are a great way to add some color to your plate. There are so many diverse fruits and vegetables readily available at farmers markets. Try picking up some purple cauliflower, maitake mushrooms or a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes on your next visit. You might find your new favorite food.
7. You can connect with your community.
Farmers markets bring people together. They introduce consumers to the people who grow and raise their food. They’re perfect for families looking for an easy outing or friends who just want to meet up. They also can give people a small-town experience in the middle of a large city.
The fresh air of farmers markets is much more enjoyable than the fluorescent lighting found in grocery stores. Buying food from farmers and ranchers has so many great benefits. Consider stopping by your local farmers market to enjoy the many advantages it has to offer.