The electric atmosphere of farmers markets is like no other. Scents of basil and fresh rose lillies waft through the air, locals buzzing around for the freshest produce and the cutest dogs everywhere (yes, I’m obsessed with all the frenchies running around). Farmer’s markets are financially-smart, charming, and a delightful alternative to grocery stores. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t get everything at these markets (Trader Joe’s cauliflower gnocchi anyone)? However, farmers markets provide about 75% of my weekly groceries so I’ve been going every weekend. Because of this, I’ve been learning more about farmers markets and how they work.
Here are my top ten benefits of farmers markets:
They Promote Sustainability
Farmers engage in sustainable farming methods. They use certified organic practices, reducing the amount of synthetic pesticides and chemicals that pollute our soil and water. While biodegradable produce and plastic handle bags are available, farmers markets take sustainability a step further by encouraging local shoppers to bring reusable bags, mason jars or food containers in an effort to go zero-waste in the future. They’ll even recycle the molded pulp basketwhen purchasing blueberries or strawberries!
Support Local Farmers
Small farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. However, thanks to farmers markets, it creates new sales opportunities for small-scale market vendors. The community has ready access to affordable, fresh, and locally-grown fruits and vegetables.
One of the more recent vendors I’m obsessed with is Frogtown Juice – they make the freshest juice I’ve ever tasted with no added sweetener (besides the hydrating coconut water). *Keep an eye out for an upcoming giveaway with them on my social channel!
The Food Tastes Better
When shopping at a farmer’s market, it means you are getting groceries that are packed with nutrients. They have a healthy punch of vitamins, nutrients and minerals at the peak of freshness. These seasonal varieties never find their way to your local grocery store. If they do, by the time they get there they’re old and wilted. They taste much better than days old, store-bought produce that lose their nutritional value with time.
Farmer’s markets emphasize adopting sound practices that don’t harm the environment. Growers are more conscious about using related systems like site composting, reducing pesticides and chemical use. They minimize their dependency on fossil fuels in production, packaging and transporting produce. They even have a sustainable goods section!
Seasonal Produce Is Offered & Affordable
If you’re looking for the freshest array of picked-that-morning produce, farmers markets is the place to shop. If you’re looking for in-season produce that’s been sourced directly from a local farm, the farmer’s market is the place to shop.
The cost of freshly picked, organic, and sustainably grown produce is a fraction of the price than at the food store. *If some of the prices are higher than the grocery store, I look at it as an investment. An investment in your health. I’d rather spend money now to prevent disease versus later at the hospital to cure.
Non-GMO and Organic Produce
You can rest assured that you’re purchasing chemical-free products at a farmers market. Local farmers use non-modified seeds as well as organic farming to grow vegetables that are safe for the environment and your health.
Along with conserving fossil fuels, local farmers are still less dependent on industrial operations – they don’t mass-produce goods or use large-scale processing and packaging plants.
Discover More Wellness Activities
You can do so much more than just shop for veggies! You can engage in social activities such as free yoga, farm field trips or chef demonstrations. Chefs show you how to prepare and cook seasonal farm-to-table dinners – all at the local farmer’s market.
My personal favorite activity is the free yoga! Every Sunday morning at 9 AM (during the summer), Nature Yoga hosts a free class outdoors in the park. It’s a good deep stretch as well as meditation – there’s nothing better!
Whether you go alone or with friends, you’ll be sure to meet people at farmers markets! The market offers a great environment to meet the farmers, chefs, and other locals. You can catch-up with members of your community, enjoy family-friendly activities, sample fresh produce, and oh so much more.
In case you missed it, read my latest blog on plastic free living here!