Click below to listen to my 2 min. Garden Bite radio show: Celebrating Farmers Markets and tips for shopping
Once again, it’s National Farmers Market week! What a wonderful opportunity for those who LOVE fresh produce but don’t have a vegetable garden, or room to plant all the veggies they want or have had their produce poached by Peter Rabbit and his pals!
As you wander the rows of fresh produce, you can’t help but have a different sense of where your food comes from and a connection that we miss in the grocery aisle. By cutting out middlemen, farmers receive more our food dollars and shoppers receive the freshest and most flavorful food in their area and local economies prosper. A fantastic way to support our local farmers!
In my town we have a Farmers Market near a park 3 days a week during the lunch hour and every Saturday in the heart of downtown.
By the way, Wisconsin is one of a handful of states that boast the largest number of Farmers Markets in the nation!
More than 85% of farmers market vendors traveled fewer than 50 miles to sell at a farmers markets. In fact, more than half of farmers traveled less than 10 miles to their market, according to the USDA. Compare that to most supermarkets where seven to fourteen days can go by between the time produce is picked and when it becomes available to shoppers. In that time, fruits and vegetables travel, on average, more than 1,200 miles before reaching store shelves. Locally grown produce sold at the farmers market is made available at the peak of freshness and nutrient content.
How to shop a farmers market:
- Cash (small bills preferably) is the best method of payment but some local producers are starting to accept credit/debit cards
- Bring your own bag, the plastic bags some have are fine but if you’re looking to bring home a major score of veggies, those sturdier bags are the way to go! Plus they’re not plastic!!
- For the best selection – go early
- For the best prices – go late
- Consider meals ahead of time and buy for what you’ll use
- Or be spontaneous!
- Interact with the farmers, ask about that fruit or that vegetable and
- Ask the farmer how THEY prepare it
- Buy in bulk for canning/preserving
- Bring a wheeled cart if you’re shopping big!
- Remember that some of the produce won’t be “clean”… free from dirt, after all, that’s where it’s come from!