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How to Shop a Farmers’ Market

They’re good for the environment, they help pad farmers’ pockets, they increase fresh produce consumption and strengthen community bonds. Seriously, is there nothing a farmers’ market can’t do?

To follow up on all our recent chatter about the benefits of farmers’ markets, we found this helpful video about what you can expect from your local farmers’ market, the benefits of keeping it local and how to get the most out of your retail experience.

via YouTube [1] via foodtv.ca [2]

Some take-home messages:

1) Don’t be scared to ask questions – Farmers are generally happy to discuss their growing process and can also tell you first-hand which produce is the best (or even give you serving suggestions!)

2) Think farmers’ markets are just for vegetables? Think again! Many farmers’ markets are also home to vendors selling meats, cheese, eggs or other products.

3) Don’t write off your local farmers’ market in the winter months – even though growing conditions may be bleak, many farmers will bring in produce from more far-flung locales, allowing you access to the foods you want while still allowing them to earn a living.

4) Although it’s preferable to eat locally-grown produce, regional climates, seasonal changes and growing cycles can seriously limit your selections at certain times of the year. A better policy is to stock up when an item is in season, but be amenable to subsidizing your selections with out-of-season items.

5) Don’t get hung up on price. You may pay more for organic or local produce, but the freshness (sometimes picked that same day), value and the knowledge that your supporting your local farming industry (and decreasing your carbon footprint) should more than make up for the slightly higher cost.

If you’re interested in learning more about farmers’ markets in your area, visit this USDA web page [3].

Further Reading:

Community Supported Agriculture [4]

Urban Gardening [5]

10 Ways to “Eat Green” [6]

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