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Great food at a great price may seem impossible to find, but the answer has been right in front of you all along: the local farmers’ market. Enjoy organic, high-quality produce, have a conversation with your friendly neighborhood farmer, support a more sustainable environment, and more when you swap the aisles in the supermarket for rows of fresh finds.

13 Benefits of Getting Produce at Farmers’ Markets Instead of at the Grocery Store

1. Shop from a Wide Selection of Products

You may associate your local farmers’ market with fresh fruits and vegetables. As markets have grown, the available products have grown, too. Many farmer’s markets will sell dairy products, eggs, and meats, in addition to what is traditionally considered produce in the grocery store. It’s not uncommon to find your favorite flowers and other lovely houseplants available at the market. And many sellers have ventured into handmade items and other small crafts, too.

2. Build Relationships with Neighborhood Vendors

Whether you’re a chef at a restaurant or you’re a local business owner, getting to know contacts at the farmers’ market is advantageous for your business. Every single business will need food at some point, from hosting an event to changing up a menu for the specials of the day. Building lasting relationships will help you get the best quality food items for the best prices.

It’s as simple as getting to know farmers and learning a bit about them. Expressing interest in their lives and showing your appreciation for their hard work displays how much you value the consistent dedication required to be a successful farmer. If you’re a local business, growing close to the farmers in your area will expand your support network and make you feel more secure during the normal ebbs and flows of a company.

3. Get to Know Friendly Faces in Your Community

But even if you’re not looking to form business relationships with farmers, you can still form personal ones. Getting to know the people responsible for growing your feed will make you feel more grounded in your community and add meaning to the typically mundane experience of grocery shopping. When you’re living in a new place, establishing a weekly routine of attending the market can be especially helpful for getting in a rhythm.

Pretty soon, you’ll start to recognize familiar faces of both farmers and other frequent visitors. It’s the perfect place for meeting friends who have a shared love of cooking, passion for the environment, and desire to get engaged with the community.

4. Help the Environment by Reducing Carbon Emissions

Farm to table is a rarity in today’s fast-paced world. Most of the food you buy at the grocery store doesn’t come from the region. The meal on your plate traveled on average 1500 miles to get to you, emitting a large number of fossil fuels in the process. Everything you buy from the farmers near you is close by, maybe even a walk away.

5. Eat Fresher Food

When you opt to go to the market instead of your nearby grocery store chain, you’re automatically shopping from a selection of products that are fresher and may even have more nutrients. Farmers typically pick or harvest products for the market either the day or the day before. Without needing to transport products for large distances or over a large amount of time, farmers can wait for products to be perfectly ripe before they bring them to the market.

6. Fill Your Body with Healthy Fuel

If apples are one of your go-to fruits, you’ve likely noticed that many of the apples in your favorite supermarket have a shiny exterior. This shine comes from a sprayed-on wax that’s designed to make apples last longer. And apples aren’t the only product with unnatural ingredients added: Many of your favorite fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and meats will have preservatives and pesticides added to improve their look and give them a longer shelf life.

Visit a local market for farmers and you can be confident that what you buy has all of the healthy benefits of fresh produce without the added harmful ingredients. Since products at the market do not travel across the country or sit on the shelf for days at a time, there’s no need to add anything. Say goodbye to GMOs or growth hormones.

7. Spend Less Money on Your Favorite Products

It’s a common but untrue myth that choosing your local market over the supermarket will require spending more money. In reality, buying from the farmers in your area will cost you less for the majority of your purchases. A report from the Atlantic shows that the prices at farmers’ markets were typically lower. For organic food, items were almost 40% cheaper than at the supermarket.

8. Enjoy Outdoor Time with Your Family

Many markets take place throughout the weekend when you’re looking for a way to spend quality time with your family. Going to the market is the perfect bonding experience that will get you out of the house. Make the most of the weather by bringing a stroller for the little ones and a picnic blanket to enjoy your purchases.

The market is more than a fun activity. It also presents the perfect teaching opportunity for your children. You can show them where food comes from and what it’s used for. When your kids have questions, they can go directly to the source and learn from the person who grew the items.

9. Experiment with Different Products and Dishes

Ask the bagger at your grocery store about recipe ideas for the selection of vegetables you’re purchasing, and they’ll likely respond with a blank stare or a few friendly suggestions. Ask the farmer at your local market the same question, and they’ll have dozens of recommendations about ways you can use their produce. Farmers take pride in what they do, and many enjoy transforming their fresh produce into flavorful and unique dishes.

Many farmers are happy to let you sample products before you buy, explaining how they grew the product and what the product would pair well with. This makes farmers’ markets the perfect opportunity to expand your palette without wasting money and food.

 

10. Support Your Local Economy

Believe it or not, but with enough support, the local market can help farmers become the center of your communities. The more you shop at farmers’ markets, the more demand you create for locally grown food. In response, farmers will grow more products and expand their staff. The impact on the community goes even further, though! 
 
A booming market will encourage other local businesses to support farmers, like by hiring them for events or offering available space for selling products.
You’ll benefit as the consumer, too: Farmers may be able to lower the cost of produce when they produce in larger scales without having to worry about shipping the products, storing them, and controlling the inventory like a supermarket would.

11. Exercise in a Fun Way

Eating high-quality produce is just one element of staying in shape. Engaging in regular exercise helps you stay fit and feel your healthiest. By shopping at the local market, you can maximize your time and energy by buying great food and getting in some exercise. Walk around the market and you’ll be so energized by the rainbow rows of produce that you’ll forget you’re exercising. Better yet, start your day with a jog and treat yourself to some fresh fruit at the market after.

 

12. Preserve the Land Around You

Farming is a business just like everything else, so farmers need the financial motivation to put in all of the difficult work required to raise crops. If they don’t make enough money to sustain the effort to run a farm, farmers will have to reduce output, lower the diversity of their crops, sell farmland, and even give up their farms altogether.

And with the ever-expanding populations, developers and businesses are always looking for the next large plot of land to build apartment buildings, parking lots, and shopping centers. By supporting local farmers at the market, you’re helping to prolong the life of their farms and keep your community green.

13. Discover Local Secrets

We’ll give credit where credit is due: The modern supermarket impressively offers numerous selections of produce from around the world, even when it’s not in season. However, supermarkets can only sell what will generate the most product. Certain items that are difficult to transport or don’t preserve well with chemicals will never make it to the supermarket. That means the farmers at your local market may offer products that you’ve never even seen before!

Shopping at a local market benefits everyone involved: you, the farmers, and the community. Feel more connected to your roots by choosing to shop for your produce from your neighbors. If you sell at local markets or know someone who does, we encourage you to reach out to the Townsend team to learn more about The Market. We’re committed to serving the community with our secure artisan marketplace.

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