Why a Farmers' Market Should be Added to Your Weekend Plans

Image courtesy of Trails End Market.

Image courtesy of Trails End Market.

It’s Friday at lunch. You’re either sitting down at your work desk eating the lunch you brought (with the intent to hurry in hopes of leaving early), or you’re out with colleagues chatting about the weekend’s plans. Either way, the itch starts kicking in. You know the itch I’m talking about; you pull out your phone, whether you’re by yourself or with a group, and start to continuously scroll on Instagram, then Facebook, then Twitter searching for the weekend’s upcoming events. With extended daylight hours and a desire to be outdoors, there’s a plethora of opportunities available during spring and summer. I can almost guarantee there’s a list of the usual weekend suspects you’ll probably consider: spending time with family and friends, a variety of outdoor activities, taking the dog and/or kids to the park or greenway, drinking at a brewery…the list goes on.

All of a sudden, something catches your attention amidst the endless scrolling – the local farmers’ market is having their grand opening today. Perhaps you’ve never been to a farmers’ market, or maybe you’re an avid weekend market fan. Either way, I strongly recommend googling where your local farmers’ market is and making a point to visit it over the weekend.

Most farmers’ markets are open April through September, some opening as early as 6 am! Although I personally will not get out of bed before the sun on weekends, I will reiterate the phrase my father likes to say, “the early bird gets the worm,” meaning if you don’t get to the market early, you won’t have fresh pick at what’s available. Farmers’ markets usually stay open until 3 p.m. so if you aren’t able to get there early, I would recommend getting there later in the day to avoid the crowds. I personally like to go in the morning after I’ve taken my dog on a walk and eaten breakfast. Visiting your local farmers’ market is a great add to your Saturday morning routine.

Reasons why Farmers’ Markets should be part of your weekend routine:

  • Support Local – Farmers’ markets are an amazing attribute to civic life; local farmers set up stands and sell fresh, local fruits and vegetables and oftentimes other products like meat, cheeses, bakery items, flowers and homemade goods. You also get the chance to interact with the people growing the food you’re about to take home!
     
  • Economical – Farmers’ markets provide affordable and fresh produce; by eliminating the change of hands between the farmer and the consumer (like transport, grocery, etc.) you’re getting the best value for your food.
     
  • Real Food – This food is as close to “just harvested” as possible. There’s a good chance produce may still have dirt in its crevices. Carrots will be whole with tops and unpeeled. Although it may take some getting used to, realize this food is raw, real and unprocessed and really, really delicious because of it!
     
  • Environmental – Eating local produce helps cut down on packaging waste and transport gas emissions.
     
  • Organic – Farmers’ markets attract vendors who use organic growing methods. Plus, if you’re unsure you can ask the farmer right there at the stand what methods they are using to treat and grow their produce!
     
  • The Whole Experience – The sights, sounds, smells and tastes of a farmers’ market should be enough to reel you in and invite you to come back again.

Now that I’ve covered some great reasons why you should be shopping at your local farmers’ market, let’s discuss some helpful tips to prepare you before your upcoming visit.

Farmers' Markets support your local farming community. Image courtesy of Global Roots.

Farmers' Markets support your local farming community. Image courtesy of Global Roots.

Tips for Visiting Your Local Farmers’ Market:

  • Plan ahead. Know what’s in season; this will help you determine what you’ll need to buy and what meals to make throughout the week.
     
  • Get there either early or late to avoid crowds. Remember that the best produce will be the first to go.
     
  • Bring small cash bills with you, as not all stands will accept cards.
     
  • Bring your big canvas grocery bags to transport your produce home. Most vendors have thin plastic bags that don’t always remain intact by the time they reach your kitchen.
     
  • Be conscious of the amount of fresh food you purchase; it’s easy to fall in local food love and then realize you bought way too much food by the time you get home.
     
  • Show gratitude. The farmers you’re interacting with at the market are the ones working hard to provide fresh food to sell to you. Local farmers are fighting hurdles we can only imagine. Thank them. Tell them how much you appreciate their efforts and dedication to providing local, fresh and affordable produce.
Today, Kings Drive Farmers Market is having their Grand Re-Opening. Image courtesy of their Facebook page.

Today, Kings Drive Farmers Market is having their Grand Re-Opening. Image courtesy of their Facebook page.

Today’s blog is honoring farmers everywhere and celebrating our local Kings Drive Farmers’ Market Grand Re-Opening by Simpson’s Produce. Enjoy your time at the farmers’ market and always remember to eat fresh food and support your local economy!