Saturday, October 26, 2013

Five Ways to Love Your Farmers' Market

  1. Get there early for the best selection. Typically towards the end of the market there will be less offerings. In a perfect world, we small-timey, local farmers would have an abundance of everything you want, when you want it, but in our very flawed world we deal with crop failures, pests, drought, too much rain, storage, transport issues, packaging conundrums, food-safety and more. It's always good to have questions, but be understanding in your approach.
  2.  Be aware that in a small, local growers' only market there will be less of a selection. It might be different in larger, more urban areas with produce overflowing into the aisles of a large, packed multi-stall covered market but here in the rural county of Montgomery, North Carolina this young market certifies each grower and holds to the standard of "if I don't grow it, I don't sell it here." This can mean the variety or amounts are not overly abundant, but you can be certain that this food is indeed local.
  3. Bring a bag! Buying new bags to send your produce home with you can up the costs for us farmers. Some of use re-use grocery bags, but it's best for food-safety reasons not to put your produce directly into that used bag, so I usually place your fresh food in a bag and then into that used grocery bag to carry it in. If you can bring your own re-usable bag it will do two things:
    1. Lower YOUR cost
    2. Prevent more plastic bags from being thrown into our landfills.
  4. We encourage you to shop around first - go by each vendor table and see what's available first - then come back by and make your selections. You'll be much happier if you do that before making a purchase only to find out another table had more product/better quality/different variety. A little healthy competition is a good thing at the farmers' market!
  5. Get to know your farmers! Ask about their practices; do they use synthetic chemicals, what type of seeds do they use? What other markets do they attend? How long have they been farming? What are their favorite varieties? Often they will have recipes that will offer ways to try things you've never eaten before - be adventurous! 

What are some of the ways YOU love your farmers' market?


Lesa said...

I LOVE my farmer's market by trying to be there buying every week. We grow many things ourselves, but what we don't I want to buy from local farmers. We think it's very important to support our local farmers and local businesses!

Unknown said...

Great informative post. Love the get to know your farmer the best :) Always always good to support local!