I’m not sure why it took me so long, but I have recently become obsessed with going to farmer’s markets. And after going to my first one, I realized it was about more than good food and pretty flowers. There is something so genuine and inspiring about each and every interaction you have there, you find yourself never wanting to leave. After going to one of my favorites last weekend (Gilbert Farmer’s Market) I thought, “I hope other people in the world get to experience this at least once” – I was referring to both being at the market AND to the amazing green chile pork hand pie I was eating from the AZ Food Crafters booth.
But really, as great as the experience is, it’s even better when you leave knowing you are supporting your local farmers and businesses. Not only are you contributing to the community, you are able to make healthy, conscious choices while doing it. I’ve been doing a little research on these benefits and I thought I’d share a couple – well 10, actually – with you.
Top 10 Reasons to Support Your Local Farmer’s Markets
- You can find a variety of fresh, organic produce at more affordable prices than in a supermarket.
- You know where your food is coming from! Meeting and talking with farmers and food artisans is a great opportunity to learn more about how and where food is produced.
- You can connect with your community. Shopping at a farmer’s market is more of a pleasure than a chore AND for every $100 spent locally, $68 goes back into your community. If you spend it at a national chain, $43 stays in the community; If you spend it online, NOTHING goes back in. (check out the 3/50 project to learn more).
- You have access to what is in season. Supermarkets may highlight this for you, but at the farmer’s market, you know you’re getting it fresh and with the truest flavors.
- You are promoting humane treatment of animals. The meats, cheeses, and eggs are from animals that are raised without hormones or antibiotics; they have grazed on greet grass and eaten natural diets; they have been spared the cramped and unnatural living conditions of feedlots and cages that are typical in animal agriculture.
- The food and products you are getting are generally safer. Things like E. coli outbreaks happen mostly in large industrial settings, where businesses mass produce food, preserve it, and bag it in mass amounts.
- The nourishment of yourself and your family. Most food found in grocery stores is highly processed and grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. These practices may have negative effects on human health. Most food found at the farmers market is minimally processed, and many farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by using sustainable techniques.
- Variety – you’re going to find things you don’t usually get the privilege of seeing in the supermarket or shopping centers. From watermelon radishes to pumpkin spice soap, you get to experience an above average consuming experience.
- You get access to ideas and recipes from vendors and other farmer’s market customers! Does the cashier at the supermarket chat with you for 20 minutes about the 10 ways you can use that garlic?
- You have the opportunity to have a new tradition, whether it be for your “you time” or an outing for the whole family. A fun, relaxed, local tradition.
Where Is Your Heart?
My heart is in Arizona (and Wisconsin – forever a cheesehead), so I thought I’d let fellow blog readers in on some great places to get a farmer’s market experience in those areas. I’d love it if you would comment with where your favorite farmer’s market is in your city, state, and/or town! You never know where you may end up and personally, I’d love to add some extras to my bucket list.
All Arizona markets are open! Click here to find one near you.
Happy shopping! – Nicki