What’s the Big Deal About Buying at a Farmer’s Market?
Tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, watermelon, carrots, basil, chicken, bread… Can’t you find all this stuff at the regular grocery store? Well, superstores like Walmart and Meijer probably do carry these things, but why is it better to buy them at a local Farmer’s Market? If you’ve been to a Farmer’s Market, you probably already know that the fruits, veggies, herbs, meat, and home-baked goods are bursting with more flavor, are more sustainable, and the overall experience of strolling around on a warm summer day while conversing with people from the community is so much more rewarding. If you are a regular Farmer’s Market attendee or know nothing about them, I hope this list I’ve compiled is a refreshing, insightful look on why your next food run should be to your local Farmer’s Market J not those superstores!
New and unique produce— Aside from offering what’s at the peak of season, Farmer’s Markets also can offer unique and exciting varieties of all kinds of produce! We have seen rabbit meat, quail eggs and meat, at least 20 different kinds of garlic, tomato pies, many varieties of peppers, and premade baskets made up of goods to make for homemade salsa. These are just a few of the cool and interesting things you might spot at the market. Go for trying something new! Your taste buds might just thank you for it J
A Reduced Environmental Footprint— Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1500 miles. Buying food from local farmers means way less traveling, using far less fossil fuels and precious natural resources from packaging used for produce, to gas for hauling trucks. So as a result, you have a reduced environmental footprint, and a lifted conscious!
Sharing Insights— On market day, farmers love to share their knowledge and expertise with you. Whether it’s tips on how to cook Kohlrabi or the scoop on sound practices they use to raise their chickens, take the opportunity to pick their brains about what they grow and how they use it! At the Minnetrista Farmer’s Market, we have Cooking Demos once a month where Chefs from the American Culinary Foundation offer great advice on cooking with your finds from the market! The next one will be August 25th at 10:00AM. We also have canning demos for home canning. You can stay up to date with these events and more at www.minnetrista.net/events
Super Fresh – most will argue there’s no competition between farm-fresh produce vs. store bought. There’s no doubt that tomatoes are amongst one of the foods that you can notice the biggest difference! Fruits and veggies that have been freshly picked from the garden are packed with tons of flavor and more nutrients compared to its store-bought competitor. Those sold at the store are often picked early, before they ripen, to prevent them from spoiling and to compensate for longer travel times. On the other hand, farmers pick their produce just at the right time when they are ripe and at the peak of their nutrition level. Then, they are immediately brought to the market to sell to you and your family to enjoy.
Connecting to the Community— Farmer’s markets are a great way for the community to come together and socialize while shopping. It’s a gathering place. A place to meet up with your friends, bring your children, or just converse and laugh with like-minded people who care about where their food comes from! Instead of a cart-bumping, hectic and busy experience at a superstore, shopping outdoors with your reusable grocery bag can be more like a stroll in the park.
Supporting Family Farmers– Family farmers are becoming increasingly rare as large agribusiness farms and ranches steadily take over food production in the U.S. Small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy.
Although all these reasons are things to thoughtfully consider, perhaps one of the most important lessons we can learn when going to the Farmers Market is appreciating where our food comes from and the hard work that was put into growing and harvesting it. Food does not come from plastic trees after all! If you’re in the area, stop by the Minnetrista Farmer’s Market. If you’re not in the area, any market will make for a satisfying experience and a satisfied stomach J
Every Saturday, May through October; 8 a.m.–Noon.
Every Wednesday beginning June 2; 3:30–6 p.m.