- Bettina Applewhite
8 Benefits of Visiting a Farmer's Market
I usually have so much fun visiting a farmer's market. There's something new to explore and they always have what's in season. You'll never go to the same market twice. It's why you have to keep going throughout the season.
There are so many great reasons to visit a farmer's market that I want to let you in on some of my top reasons. After learning about how great farmer's markets are, you'll want to get to a farmer's market ASAP.
1. Support Local Businesses
Farmer's Markets are busting at the seems with small, local business. Businesses aren't traveling far week after week unless they are close by. Shopping at farmer's markets ensures that you're shopping local and shopping small. I always get more personalized service and care when I'm shopping from neighbors. The owners are invested in the success and the customers' satisfaction. The difference is usually night and day. You can ask questions of how the items were made and suggestions for how to use the products.
2. Get Inspired
Every now and then I'll get uninspired by food. The ideas aren't flowing and I don't even have a desire for good standby meals. I'll visit a farmer's market to get inspired by the different items there. The markets will have different produce that isn't popular enough for big grocery stores to bring in. For example, I visited a farmer's market this month and found fresh fava beans. Fresh beans aren't at my neighborhood grocery store. You can ask the farmer's their favorite way to use the products. They are the experts at preparing their foods so they can inspire you to create something different.
3. Not Every Farmer's Market is the Same
In some areas, you can find an open farmer's market year-around. The peak is during the spring and summer months. The markets start opening up in May and usually last until September or October. Even in your same city, the markets are different. Different farmers and vendors go to different markets. Some markets may only have produce while others have coffee, juice, and baked goods. Unlike your regular grocery stores, farmer's markets also change from week to week. As produce becomes ready to pick, then the bounty at the market expands too. It's fun to find short season items. It's like finding a rare gem. Ramps and cherries usually have such a short season in my area, it's fun to figure out how many ways I can use them in such a short period of time. Visiting a farmer's market is an excellent way to find more unusual items than at big chain markets. It's time to get creative.
4. Farmed Raised Meat, Eggs, Dairy
Concerned about where your meat and dairy is coming from? At a farmer's market, you can speak directly to the farmer and ask all the questions, you want and they'll have the answers. They've raised the animals and process the meats to sell. Once you build a relationship with your butcher, you can even request certain cuts.
5. More Than Just Produce
Farmer's markets sell more than fruits and vegetables. Some markets will have handmade soaps, body butters, baskets and even art pieces. There's jewelry, clothing, and accessories. I love a good smelling candle and I can find some unique combinations in the farmer's markets. The art pieces are so unique that you'll find conversation pieces for your home. I've noticed good-looking pottery and paintings by local artists. I've even seen cool woven baskets at these markets that are pretty enough to put on display.
6. Services Are Offered Too
There's a traveling knife sharpener that goes around to different farmer's markets in the area. While you're shopping you can get your knives sharpened professionally. They'll make repairs to your knives if needed. But they don't only just do knives, they also do shears and other knives and scissors that you want to keep sharp. There may be engraving or other quick services that you can get while you shop. The only way to find out is to go and visit. At the big farmer's market in Baltimore, MD you can even drop off your food waste for composting. Talk about service!
7. Prepared Foods
Not only can you find fresh, local produce, there's also yummy baked goods, delicious hot foods, and tasty drinks. There are always the best food trucks and stands at farmer's markets. I have had great Haitian food, Thai street foods, and even yummy Kombucha at farmer's markets. The baked goods there are just like the ones you'll find in your grandma's kitchen. The dishes are handmade and made with lots of care. You can tell the difference. It's so worth the extra time it may take to wait in line.
8. Farmer's Markets are Accepting Multiple Forms of Payment
Farmer's markets are catching up with the times. It used to be that farmer's markets only took cash. But now they are also accepting card payments, cash app, and even EBT cards. Accepting EBT cards means that it is more accessible for everyone to get fresh, local produce.
With all these reasons, run don't walk to your nearest farmer's market and explore your possibilities.