It’s that time of year again! Spring time means that produce stands and farmer’s markets are back! I don’t know about you, but I could use some fresh and local produce right about now. Let’s talk about the benefits of buying local and more importantly, where you can find a market in your area!
Benefits of buying local
- Freshness- When you stop at a market or a produce stand, the produce that you’re looking at, many times, was picked that morning. Unless you picked it yourself and ate it in the field, you can’t get much fresher than that! Foods that are shipped from other areas is usually not picked at it’s ripest (so that it doesn’t rot in transit).
- Nutrients- With there being less transit time between farm and table, the nutrients in the produce have less time to decrease.
- Seasonal- Like many things, produce has peak seasons. Eating seasonal produce helps ensure you are getting the freshest (see #1) and most nutrient dense (see #2) and most flavorful options! When food doesn’t have to travel across the country, farmers can wait until it’s at the peak of freshness before picking. This ensures the most flavor in every bite! Not sure what’s in season right now? Check out my handy Spring Produce Guide .
- Economy- Buying local helps support your community. Farmers do so much to keep communities going and supporting them helps to invest money back in your area by helping families that live in your town.
Where do I go?
If you are new to your city or if you haven’t been to a farmer’s market lately, don’t worry! This website called Local Harvest helps you find the produce stands and farmer’s markets closest to you. Click on any of the helpful tabs where you can search for information on a CSA (community supported agriculture), stands, markets, and even pick-your-own locations.
Not just produce!
Most farmer’s markets have other goods for sale in addition to fresh produce. Things like locally grown flowers, honey, hand-crafted soaps, and many more products made by your neighbors and community members.
A few tips
- Bring a bag! Re-usable bags are great if you have them. If not, no worries. Most stands have plastic bags available if you need one.
- Bring some cash. Many farmers can take cards but we all know those fees can really add up for a small business.
- Ask a farmer! Not sure what an item is or how in the world to cook it? Ask the farmer! They literally live on a field of it so you bet they have likely gotten creative with how to eat and prepare the food. In my experience, they LOVE educating people on their crops and are delighted to answer questions you may have.
- Bring your kids! What better way to expose your kids to new produce than showing them the food in it’s natural form and introducing them to the people that grow it! You can make a scavenger hunt ahead of time and have them look for things like “one red veggie”, “two different green things”, and “one new thing you’ve never seen before”.
- Follow them! If you’re on social media, look up your local farmer’s market (or farm for that matter). Many times they will post what produce they will have or what other products will be available when the market opens. This can help with planning and get you excited about what’s available!
We are heading into a wonderful time for fresh, local produce. Head over to the farmer’s market in your town and have a blast exploring the produce, talking with the farmers, and trying out new fruits and veggies!