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A Beginner's Guide to the Farmers Market

The How and Why of Buying from Local Growers


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  • Love the farmer's market
  • One of the best times of the year is when we are having farmers markets. There are 5 great ones in my area and I get all of my food I can there. Good prices but the quality is so much better. Plus, I want to support them so they keep coming back.
  • Actually, local farmer's market prices are not that much lower, depending on the fruits and vegetables, the cost is much higher. That also includes the artisan breads and specialties, for example, I paid $7 for a homemade olive bread whereas at a Trader's Joe $2 which was smaller, whilst another $5 a commercial Local Market.

    Of course the sizes were different as were the prices, however, the homemade and Local Market were almost similar in size.

    I truly believe in supporting my local markets, for I'm a crafter myself designing wire beaded jewelry and such.
  • Could you please post the scientific studies that you used to verify reason 2?

    Many spark people articles have a list of consulted sources. I'd be interested in seeing the study that supports any of the claims made. Most are opinions, but "All of these factors can decrease nutrient quality." is a verifiable claim. The article softens it by saying generally speaking, and probably. I know this is just a blog, but if you did research this and have an easy link to the study I'd appreciate the link.
    I love to go to our Farmer's Market. Now I buy large quantities of vegetables then go home and cook them all that day. I put some in the fridge for the week and I freeze some in baggies that I can later microwave. I may spend a couple of hours on a Saturday but I now have 2-3 vegetables per weeknight ready to go in minutes. No more highly processed frozen vegetables for us during the summer months.
  • In Wichita we have a "Kansas-Grown Farmers' Market" that I live for from the first of April through the end of October. I love it, and I LOVE the people! Not everyone is accepted as a vendor. The product must be Kansas-Grown or "value added" (think hand knits, artisan jewelry, chocolate chip cookies, etc.). If your community has a choice of Saturday outdoor markets--go to the one that doesn't truck its produce in from far away. If I am in town on Saturday during market months, I am there. I can hardly wait until tomorrow!
  • I started going to the farmer's market last month, I go once per week to stock up. I love it, the produce is so much tastier. The organic stuff is about the same price as the regular store-bought stuff, but way better quality.
  • When I go into the Produce section at a farmer's market, I have to discipline myself (It was easier to quite smoking) because I want a kilo of everything. And I can't do that. Even if I could afford it most would spoil before I got around to cooking it. The top teeth are not mine so I can't eat raw vegetables like I used to love doing, even if the bloody teeth are glued in place.

    Good fruit is better than an orgasim. Says the 81 year old lady.
  • Often you can ask if the farmer has any deals on imperfect produce also called seconds. They are slightly bruised or strangely shaped fruits and vegetables that ordinarily get passed over. If they have them they will happily give you a good deal on these just as healthy veggies. I don't mind if my tomato started life as a conjoined twin or a squirrel nibbled on my corn.
  • Ask questions! I once purchased plums at our local farmer's market and they had a #4040 sticker on them. I later went to the grocery store and found those same plums with the same sticker for half the price! Do not assume the produce is local! The plums weren't. Yes, I felt taken advantage of and I do not think something is worth twice as much because it was purchased at a trendy location.
  • BAUMAN147
    Something similar to a Farmer's Market (and available year-round) is Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op. Go to to see if there is a site near you. They are in about 25 states and counting, available in both rural areas and big cities. You go to the site on Monday or Tuesday and contribute for a basket (regular or organic), plus you can choose from that week's selection of add-ons like cases of fruit and veggies, bread, tortillas, oils (olive and coconut are the most common) and juice packs( fruits and veggies for juicing). Then you just need to make sure you know when and where to pick up your stuff (a specific time and place on Friday or Saturday). It doesn't support the local community like a farmer's market does, but it's a great way to get cheap fresh fruits and vegetables- particularly when you live in a very rural area like I do.
    I agree with all the good points in this article but find it difficult to make time for a market visit + trip to the store to round out my order with other things that I need. I found a great compromise with a food coop (grand river organics) that delivers locally grown produce baskets to various pickup points near grocery and health food stores in my area. Some of the above benefits without the inconvenience. Thanks for the article!
    My husband and I raise buffalo in NC and have participated in three farmers markets for over six years now. All the markets are year round and yes, it can be very cold at times! Our customers keep coming every Saturday rain or shine. I have enjoyed the bounty of my fellow vendors and learned so much on how to prepare a variety of fresh vegetables! In fact, I never ate fresh beets roasted in my oven until this year and now I'm a convert. No more canned beets for me! Kale is next on my list! I've also tried organically raised turkey, grass fed beef hot dogs and some of the best pork sausage I've ever tasted. And not to brag too much, our bison are raised on grass and hay only, so not only is it very tasty meat, it's also very healthy meat with no antibiotics or growth hormones. You owe it to yourself to go to the ATM and visit a farmers market soon!
    I shop at our farmers market in the Comox Valley every Saturday, the freshness of the produce can't be beat, I cut back on meat to buy the good stuff bison , beef ,turkey all with out the hormones and drugs, so I've given up quantity for quality and keep the cost reasonable, talk about freshness, yesterday we waited while more strawberries were being picked to make the demand, they were delicious !!!!!
    I agree with the person who posted about the farmers market at Fort Edmonton Park. Before moving to Edmonton, I used to frequent farmers markets regularly. For all the reasons that are listed in this article and because the prices were good. But in Edmonton, the prices are sky high. I have a limited food budget and I cannot afford the extremely high prices at farmers' markets here. Not slightly higher than the supermarket, but easily double or triple on many, many things. I find it odd, especially since fresh produce is actually cheaper in the supermarkets in Edmonton than it is back East. So in summer, i grow what I can, myself and freeze or otherwise preserve it.

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