Just five of many reasons to shop at your local farmers market.
I love lazy Saturdays. Sleeping in, drinking coffee, moving slowly. But there’s one thing that will get me out of the house on a Saturday morning, and that’s the local farmers market.
Homemade scones and fresh coffee. Dogs on leashes and babies in strollers. People meeting friends, and vendors sharing recipes. And there might even be a little music thrown in too.
So, if I didn't sell you on “homemade scones”, here are 5 more very convincing reasons why it makes sense to shop at your local farmers market.
Most produce in grocery stores isn’t local, which means it is picked early, shipped (often) more than 1,000 miles in a refrigerated truck, delivered to the store, then put on a shelf. When you buy food at the market, the farmer may have picked your tomatoes as recently as that morning! Now, that’s fresh!
When was the last time you bought an orange tomato or a hard, tasteless pear? The farmer’s market vendors picked their produce at the ideal point of ripeness when the plants’ natural sugars are at their peak. Produce that is ripe not only tastes better, but it also provides the best nutrition possible.
3. Organic and Affordable!
Food that is organically grown is much better for us, because the farmers don't use food isn’t sprayed with chemicals which can penetrate the skin of the produce. Organic produce in the grocery store is more expensive, and is often already rotting, because it’s not fresh (see #1). Most, if not all, of the fruit and vegetables sold at the farmers market is organic, the prices are affordable, and many markets even accept SNAP and WIC benefits.
4. Shop Local!
The number of family farms are decreasing, due to the increased costs to maintain and farm and having to compete with the large grocery chains. Purchasing fruits and vegetables from farmer’s markets, however, supports local family farms, giving them the valuable capital they need to keep operating and providing you with an alternative to mass-produced foods. Think of it as supporting your neighbor!
All photos credited to the Richmond Farmers Market.
5. Bring the kids!
Kids love the energy of the market, and many markets offer activities to keep them busy and learning. Why not make a game out of your visit? Visit each vendor booth, and have each child pick one new fruit or vegetable that they will try that week. I used to do this with my kids, and they couldn’t wait to get home to try out their new discoveries.
So, this Saturday, set your alarm to get up early and make a visit to your local farmers market!
The Richmond Farmers Market takes place at Elstro Plaza, May-October, from 8am-12pm every Saturday. You’ll find plenty of parking and plenty of fun!
For more information about the Richmond Farmers Market and the Tuesday Twilight Market, follow the Richmond Farmers Market on Facebook and Instagram.