Farmers’ markets are fun, interesting places to buy food, meet your neighbors, teach your children, and connect with the rhythm of the seasons.  Here you can learn about the numerous benefits of buying fresh, locally produced food and meet the people who work hard to bring it to you. 

If you are fortunate, your local market also hosts live music, provides recipes and food preservation tips, offers home garden information, and introduces you to new kinds or varieties of food. In today’s hurried, pre-packaged world, shopping at a farmers’ market may even improve your satisfaction and quality of life, not to mention your health!

Farmers' Markets Benefit Consumers

Food bought at a farmers’ market is better than supermarket food. Check the label on your next bite of fruit: was it shipped from California, or even Chile? Produce shipped over long distances was likely bred for durability rather than taste, and probably did not ripen in the field but rather by exposure to gases, and has lost nutrients from the day it was picked – maybe weeks ago.

When you buy any type produce from the farmer who grew it, you know that it ripened naturally and was picked very recently. You can ask the farmer about its variety, what chemicals (if any) were used on it, and how best to cook or preserve it. You may also find new varieties of familiar produce.

Your local farms may have a variety that does well in your area, or that was just fun to grow, like blue potatoes or purple tomatoes. Supermarkets generally prefer the standard types, which limits your opportunity to explore a fabulous world of taste and benefit nutritionally from a wide variety of colorful foods.

Farmers' Markets Benefit Farmers

Shopping at a farmers’ market benefits the farmers, too. They are people in your community who work hard in an uncertain business.

By developing a relationship with your producers, you’re helping them stay in business. That, in turn, keeps land in production, an essential step from preventing arable land loss to development. Most importantly, the farmers get a decent wage for their work.

For every dollar you spend at a farmers’ market, the farmer gets a dollar. For every dollar you spend in the supermarket, the farmer receives a mere ten cents.

Farmers' Markets Benefit Communities

The gathering of people at a farmers’ market has further benefits for the community. Each dollar spent at a local business (such as a farmer’s booth) keeps twice as much money in the local economy as does spending at a non-locally-owned store.

Rather than spreading your dollars among distant stockholders, managers, brokers, and CEOs, spend them at your neighbor’s farm. That family will in turn spend some of the dollars locally, helping to enhance the local economy.

Also, buying locally-grown food reduces air pollution, since that lettuce wasn’t driven 2,000 miles or more.  In additionan, with a less-centralized food supply, we’re all a bit safer from mass contamination and possible bioterrorism threats.

Farmers' Markets Keep You In Touch With The Seasons

Finally, eating in-season produce keeps you in touch with the seasons in your location. Foods in season are at their tastiest, are abundant, most nutritious and the least expensive.  Become aware of how crops mature at different times. Enjoy savoring peaches now, then apples, and later pumpkin pie.

You can also rediscover the fun of preserving food: drying herbs, preparing jams, making homemade pickles. Then too, food can be a strong identifier of place. Sweet potato pie, okra, chow chow… you can’t easily find purple-hulled peas in New York!

Farmers’ markets provide benefits to consumers and the community.  Come join the growing trend of farmers’ market shoppers. 6,200 markets - and growing - around the country can’t be wrong!