Poll: Do You Visit Farmers Markets?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
There are a number of reasons that I love this time of year in my area. The flowers are blooming, I can take the kids outside to play and it doesn't get dark at 6 p.m. Another thing I love is that our local farmers markets open. There are a few good ones in my area, and I enjoy going to check out all of the fresh baked goods, produce, and other yummy foods they offer. It makes me happy to think my kids can learn the real taste of fresh foods and get excited about eating berries for dessert versus a Twinkie or Ho-Ho. (Don't get me wrong- I LOVE a good ho-ho, but just try to limit them as much as possible.)

According to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, farmers markets increased over 300% from 1994 to 2009. They saw a 13% increase over the past year from 2008-2009. The USDA reports that small and medium sized farm operators benefit the most from farmers markets, since it gives them direct access to the consumer instead of having to go through a costly distributor. In 2005, 25% of vendors reported that their sole source of farm income came from farmers markets.

When we first started visiting farmers markets, I didn't know what to expect. I was surprised to see them selling more than just fruits and vegetables. Our local markets sell meat, eggs, bread, and other homemade items like candles and soap. Although I've found some items to be more expensive than at the grocery store, many things are actually cheaper- and a lot fresher, too!

There are lots of benefits to local farmers markets. Check out Farmers Market Food Finds for more reasons to visit a market in your area.

Do you visit farmers markets? What do you like/dislike about them?

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I do go on occaision. I don't find the prices any cheaper than the grocery stores though. It is nicer finding a better organic selection. Report
No!! They close it at 3pm. That is when I get out of work. Report
I am going to ask hubby to take us this weekend!!! We never go...so this will be FUN for us and our little two year old princess:)

I DO however...eat LOTS of fruits and veggies!! Report
I can not wait for our farmers market to open visit on saturday and wensday Report
Today will be my first farmers market this year. I am excited to see what they have. I have never been to this one before. it is near my office in Whiting, In. Happy Mothers Day to all Mom's out there. They might have nice plants or rose bushes there for my Mom. Bye..... Report
I love Farmer's Markets, What I don't like is they are ususally early in the morning on weekdays when I working! Report
I love farmers markets! Nothing tastes better than fresh fruit and veggies! Report
I love Farmers' Markets. I recently read about a farmer in New Jersey who converted a school bus into a mobile farmers' market. He calls his business - Farm to Family and brings farm fresh produce to families who can't travel to a farmers' market. This is a fabulous idea that I would love to see happen all over the country. I know a lot of inner city kids who could benefit from a program like this. Report
I've only been to one in my life, but I want to start going to more. I hear the ones out here in Okinawa are awesome! Report
Love them!!! The fresh food is great Report
I try to go every weekend....LOVE IT!!! Report
we went last year and plan to do it this year also. The price was okay and I was raised of vegis so I can prepare the stuff Report
Our local farmers' market is trendy -- and spendy. It's just too expensive. Report
I absolutely swear by farmer's markets, and roadside stands. I love the fact that for one the food is local andfresher, than at the grocery store, and two you can get as little or as much as you want. I don't have to buy 4 pounds of grapes if I only want 1 pound. My favorite thing to buy there is cucumbers. I love them because they are not waxed, and I can eat them skin on. I'm so glad mine are year round. I don't know what I'd eat the rest of the year, lol. Report
we really enjoy visiting the local farmers market with the kids. not all weeks are productive, but a big part of the fun is the journey and adventure in not knowing what will be found. love it... Report
Aside from the price, which is sometimes higher or lower than the grocery stores, I can't think of a reason why anyone wouldn't love farmer's markets! Report
I live in the Des Moines area. We have 4 to 5 farmers markets around weekly from May thru October. The big one is on Saturdays in downtown. It started years ago as one row of vendors in a parking garage to a 4 block stripe and side streets with probably 400 vendors. Opening day this year was a beautiful day and the crowd topped 30,000 people. I love it. Fresh produce, wines, crafts, and music along with ready to order food make it a wonderful start to the weekend. I buy many items there plus get to try some great food varieties which also make the experience. Report
We don't have any farmer's markets in my area that I know of. (The Inland Valley of Southern California) I think there is one a few cities over some Saturdays, so maybe I will have to check it out. Report
I like to go to the farmer's markets. Vegetables have always been the starting point for my meal plans. We now can get free range eggs which are fabulous. The problem with the markets is that they force you to show up at a particular time, That is often a conflict with other duties. Report
On occasion I go to the local (tiny southern Oregon town) farmer's market held on Monday afternoons. The produce, breads, & chevre is the freshest you can get w/o picking your own from your home garden or making it yourself. I have found the prices are generally a bit more expensive than from the grocery store, but the product is top quality ("just picked today"). I just need to remember what I will use over a week's time & that they will be back again next week so I don't overbuy & things wind up going to waste. Report
I love farmer's markets. I got into them when we lived in Italy. Every town has a weekly farmer's market, so everyday you can go to a farmer's market in a town and get fresh produce, seafood, meat, dairy and a huge variety of other things! They were incredible! Report
Love the farmer's market, esp. from 2 friends who each started organic farms this year. Report
I used to drive 12 miles to the closest farmers' market, but last year they started on in our town and it's within walking distance of my house. (Yay!) When I was there on Saturday, one of the vendors told me that starting next week, they're going to add a Wednesday session from 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. so folks can get fresh, locally grown produce twice a week from the last part of June until at least the first week in September. How awesome is that? I plan to go on Wednesdays for "eating" produce and on Saturdays for "canning and freezing" produce. That way we will have fresh fruits and veggies all week long and I will have Saturday afternoon and Sunday to put away fruit and vegetables for the winter months.

Nirvana! Report
I love going to the farmers markets... Report
I love to go the Farmer's Markets, but I have learned this one lesson (the hard way) Eat the wonderful produce right away. it is Sooo much fresher (and ripe) than produce from the grocery store that it spoils quickly.. Report
I just joined a service called Washington's Green Grocer here in D.C. this week. They deliver boxes of produce and other specialty items from local farms to your door once a week. It's sort of a CSA but not really. I like it because it's pay as you go, I didn't have to pay a joining fee -- and I'm supporting local farms. It also keeps my Saturday mornings free (feeling lazy!). Report
I'm so lucky to have Pike Place Market available year round and nearby in Seattle. In the summer, even more farmers sell produce here, and yes, it is cheaper and better. I also signed up with a CSA this year. Report
My girlfriend introduced me to the local one and I was hooked!! Beautiful fruits and vegetables that were much bigger and MUCH cheaper than grocery stores!! The produce is taken care of like there's no rotten food, no bruised food and clean set-ups. The variety is great, the herbs fresh and vegetables that are not seen but in specialty stores. I want to try some of them!! They add other things like spices, breads, nut/health mixes (My fav!!) and more specialty things including Jewish/kosher items. There's also a Polish market attached to it with some wonderful cheeses and meats.
Everybody should make that extra shopping trip to a farmers market. It is worth it. It's not a fancy place like the grocers but who cares. The produce is the main thing. Report
I get to go to a Farmer's Market several times a week! One is right in my neighborhood! Today I bought white cherries nd Black Raspberries! Awesome! Report
I have visited a local farmer's market for quite a few years and love it. You can get fresh produce that you can't get in the store; and you can get produce fresher. I don't always find it cheaper, though, but usually better. This year, however, I have a small garden, so fresh produce will come from there. I might still have to go to the farmer's market, though for the yummy cantaloupe and a few other things I don't have in my garden. I'm getting lettuce and green onions now from my garden. I am so excited to have the energy to have a garden after all these years!! Woo hoo!! Report
I love farmer's markets! They're a great way to learn about new-to-you fruits and vegetables. For instance, I learned about kiwi berries (soooo good!) and all about garlic (there are hundreds of different varieties and it originated in western Asia).

often as i can sometimes (i usually don't have cash on me, but when i do i stop there first much of the time). the one near me isn't terribly good as far as choices and such--but i make sure to make time for the one between my place and my mom's. its a pretty big one about halfway between us and if i'm coming back from her place i make sure to stop in if its still open. they had some of the best peaches ever once--mmm...)

but also double check where their stuff comes from--a few items won't be local at all, just surplus shipments that stores didn't want (or something like that). Report
Since discovering farmers markets and switching to using mostly sustainable products I lost 27lbs - when I tried to diet I lost zip. I have to highly recommend farmers markets and sustainable agriculture - and it isn't as expensive as it looks because you end up eating less once the additives are eliminated. Report
Absolutely! I wish there were farmer's markets available all year long. Everything seems to taste so much better and is much healthier when it is fresh and local! Report
I just love the farmer's market. It makes buying healthy food an enjoyable event. Its just not as much fun buying fruits and veggies at the grocery store, and I love supporting our local farmers. Report
Yes!! We have wonderful farmer's markets in our area. I also belong to a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). I own a "share" of a farm and pick up a box of produce every week - then our meals are planned around the vegetables and fruits we get - they are the stars!! Report
Yes!!! Report
No, but members of my family do. I would go if I woke up early enough in the morning. Report
My favorite farmers market sells stuffed bread and quarts of fresh blueberries. It's open on Fridays. Report
Farmers Markets are my favorite place to shop especially when I can buy certified organically grown food. Report
I did visit a certified Farmer's Market last weekend after reading this article. It was much more expensive than I was expecting. Even the local fruit and vegetable place I normally frequent had boosted prices by about 25%. I did pick up 5 big zucchini for $2.00 and a round loaf of crusty whole wheat bread for $5. Also purchased a dozen "pastured" eggs for $4 as I wanted to see if I could tell a difference (neither my dh nor I could). A better stop after the farmer's market was the local orchard where you can pick your own items. We picked almost 3 lbs of blackberries @ 2.75 a pound! The berries were picked from vines without any thorns! They provided a tasty treat for several days and I can't wait to go back to pick some peaches soon. Report
I love my farmers market, you can find such good deals. One downside is you may not be buying local and I went to one this past weekend and the people were smoking over the food. Otherwise I just love them! Report
I love the farmers market, it has the outdoor friendly atmosphere with fresh vegetables and great prices. Report
Love them! Everything tastes better when it's fresh. And buying locally helps out our farmers which makes me feel better. I also have a little garden and share witht the neighbors. It's a lot of hard work but I reap the benefits with good food and smiles when people eat my veggies so I know that the farmers at the market enjoy what they do - I know that I do. Report
I don't vsit them because I belong to a CSA (community supported agriculture farm) and I get so much food weekly from there -- but as I write this, I'm realizing that there's so much more I can get at the farmer's market than veggies! I'll make a point of going soon -- there is one in my neighborhood. Report
Love going to farmers' markets! It's interesting to pay more attention to what's actually in season, rather than grabbing whatever from the grocery store. I'm also a first-time participant in an area CSA and I can't wait to try some new things! Report
I love our Farmers Markets!! :) There are three that are relatively close to my home. I use to love going to the Kannapolis market on Thursdays but that was because of beautiful flowers. Now, my family and I head out to the main campus for Cabarrus County on Saturday's to pick up veggies and fruits plus a few baked goods as we visit with friends. :) There is one in Harrisburg which we do plan to go to for the trains (big train family). While we shop we can watch trains and afterwards we can ride trains around the park. :) Report
We all enjoy the farmers market in our area. There are so many different vegetables and fruits than we are familiar with that are ready for eating. Also, if you don't know how to prepare them, there is usually someone nearby who is happy to share a recipe. Report
We grow a lot of our own produce and swap with others in the area. Nothing beats fresh vine ripened. YUM Report
My job offers a farmers market once a month in their parking lot that is a must. Also everyone at work shares their garden produce for free which is a life saver for us city types who can't grow a plastic flower. :0) Report
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