I don’t know about other parts of the country, but in New England, farmers markets are everywhere in the summertime. I really enjoy walking around to check out the vendors and buying local food and other goods.

Vegetables

Last weekend I was in Maine and went to the York Farmers Market. They had everything from vegetables to fresh olive oil to homemade granola. We even saw vendors with chocolate bread and peanut butter hummus (yep, you read that right). Come to think of it, the bread and hummus would probably go great together! 😉

I am excited to finally check out a local farmers market in Somerville’s Union Square this weekend (that’s my plan anyway). Due to the recent rain and my schedule, I haven’t stopped by yet. In preparation for my visit, I did a little research to see what the vendors may be offering. I was excited to find a list of fresh produce for July, which includes:

Corn, apples, beans, beets, blackberries, cabbage, cucumbers, cherries, eggplant, escarole, green onions, kale, leeks, lettuce, melons, peas, peaches, peppers, plums, radishes, raspberries, spinach,  summer squash, tomatoes, and zucchini

I can’t wait! 🙂

In my eyes, farmers markets are great for several reasons and of course I’m going to share my insight with you:

Supporting local businesses: I am a huge fan of supporting local businesses whenever possible and visiting a farmers market is a great way to do it. My family has owned a local business for over 85 years so I may be a little biased but I believe in giving back to the community. Supporting local businesses is one way to do that. Why not support your neighbors vs. products made or grown in a place you’ve never heard of? In fact, buying directly from a farmer allows them to receive 90 cents of every dollar you spend.* 

Supporting locally grown/produced food: There are several benefits of buying local food. Here are some examples:

  • Freshness: The average carrot travels nearly 2,000 miles to reach your table*. Purchasing food at a farmers market allows you to avoid the typical packaging, travel and distribution times, which means you are getting fresher food that is likely tastier and more nutritious.
  • Energy conservation: Going back to the carrot, think of all the fuel saved in not transporting the load of vegetables across the country but rather buying it locally.
  • Sense of Community: Farmers Markets are a great way for people to gather, socialize and support a good cause.

Informative and fun: What’s a better way to understand how to cook fiddleheads or how to use fresh goat cheese then right from the farmer’s mouth? The vendors at farmers markets are passionate about what they grow and/or produce and most are excited to offer their insight. Talking to the farmer will sometimes give you interesting tips and sometimes they even offer samples of their products. I ❤ samples!

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So, if you’re like me, and planning to visit a farmers market this weekend, here are some helpful tips that I’ve come across:

  • Know what’s in season…see my list above (for those of you in New England)
  • Have a meal in mind…so you actually use what you buy don’t go home with random items
  • Go early…if you’re looking for the best selection
  • Go late…if you’re looking for a deal
  • Bring your own tote bag(s)…save the environment while keeping your hands free
  • Ask questions…the farmers are your greatest resource
  • Bring cash…most vendors only accept the green stuff
  • Have fun!

For those of you in Massachusetts, here’s an excellent list of farmers markets organized by county. For everyone else, Google is your best friend.

I will be sure to post a full report this weekend. Have a great one!

 

*http://www.sustainabletable.org

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