i am blessed to live in an area where fresh produce is immediately available year-round. when we head out in the car, it’s only five minutes before we hit the local pick-your-own berry farm, and ten minutes before we hit the citrus groves- bright rows of orange and lemon trees on one side of the highway, and glorious low-lying greens like spinach and broccoli on the other. ten minutes later, we hit the strawberry fields, which, if you’re lucky and if they’re ripe enough, you can smell through the open car windows.
it’s a true privilege living this close to real food and i appreciate it endlessly.
i know too, that not everyone has this kind of access to fresh, local produce. which is why farmers’ markets are so amazing.
farmers’ markets are simply food markets where farmers and producers sell their goods directly to customers. that means more profit for the makers themselves, (because we’re cutting out the middle man of large grocers), and better quality food for shoppers. it also means that you’re eating locally, which is great for your community’s economy, as well as much better for the environment. supporting local food has a much smaller carbon footprint because it means less demand for flying in expensive and exotic goods from the far corners of the earth.
shopping in farmers’ markets is also just so much more pleasant than the chain grocery stores (fluorescent lights, pushy crowds, and terrible music, no thanks). farmer’s markets are intimate and much more natural. you get to speak to the people who actually grow the product. you can taste a peach before you buy it, haggle for that extra onion, or get quality advice for growing flowers at home from someone who actually grows flowers professionally. it’s not only fun shopping, trying out heirloom varieties of vegetables that taste like cardboard in the store, but it’s also human connection, plain and simple. and while i still seem to come home with much more than i had planned on buying, it’s always quality, whole foods that i have no qualms about splurging on. bring on the farm-fresh herbs anytime!
in case you’re not sure where your closest farmer’s market is, we have some resources to help you find out. an obvious first resource would also be your city’s or county’s website where they share local events or calendar information. if that fails, try these too:
- usda local food directory : this directory is run by the u.s. department of agriculture, so it lists all nationally registered markets in the country. not only can you search by area, but you can search by goods offered as well! super convenient if you’re only looking for a market that sells cut flowers and wine. now you don’t even have to drive around looking for it. you can also filter by payment method (wic, credit card, snap), and by where the physical market is held (in a private parking lot, on a closed-off public street, etc.) each market has info about where it’s held, the hours, what’s offered, how many vendors there are, and who to get in touch with should you need assistance.
- localharvest : this site is great because it allows you to search not only for local farmers’ markets, but also for farms, csa’s, groceries, and co-ops in your area. you can also sign up for a weekly newsletter tailored to your local zip code.
- ecology center farmers’ market finder : this site currently only shows farmer’s markets in california, but it’s awesome because it allows you to search for markets that accept calfresh ebt, wic, snap, as well as other social nutrition benefits.
- farmstand : farmstand is an app you can use on your phone to search for farmers’ markets all over the world. they also have a web version you could use on your computer. farmstand allows you to view and share user pictures of markets, share tips about produce, and connect with other people who frequent local markets.
- austrailian farmers’ markets directory : this site shows all of the farmers’ markets that have been nationally registered with the austrailian farmers’ market association, along with their hours and location.
know of any other farmers’ market resources? let us know!