Friday, June 17, 2011

6 Reasons to Shop Your Local Farmer's Market

Editor's Note: Thanks to Maria Rainier, freelance writer and blog junkie, for this contribution to Austin Fresh.

If you truly care about the environment and your local community, then realistically you should not only be visiting the nearest Farmer’s Market on a regular basis, but also be encouraging your friends and family to do the same.

In case you aren’t already aware of the numerous benefits of purchasing food and various other items at these markets, here are six reasons as to why you should do your grocery shopping at your local Farmer’s Market instead of at a commercial grocery store:

1. The food is always fresh

Whenever you buy fresh fruit, vegetables or even meat and dairy products at a grocery store, the produce is usually two to three weeks old because of the amount of time it takes to ship the items from the farm to the store.

Not only that, some items at grocery stores are usually loaded with preservatives and chemicals in order for them to stay fresh for longer periods of time.

Produce and food at a Farmer’s Market, however, is always fresh; in fact, most of the produce has been picked ripe that day, which makes it not only more fresh but tastier as well.

2. You’re supporting the local community

This point may seem fairly obvious if you like to head to the Farmer’s Market on a regular basis, but it can’t be stressed enough.

With the current state of the economy the need has never been so great to financially support those in your local community, and farmers have especially been hit hard with the economy and deserve compensation for their hard work.  By purchasing locally-grown produce it not only shows how much you care about your local community, but it also helps to encourage regional farming as well.

3. You can learn from the best

If you’ve been wondering how you can grow vegetables and fruit in your own garden, or even if you’ve been hoping to experiment with different recipes using fresh produce, then why not ask some of the farmers who are selling the produce at the market?

You can speak to the farmers one-on-one and ask them about recipe ideas, cooking strategies or even farming techniques so you can learn a thing or two about the farming process as well. You could also ask them more about the produce, such as where it was picked, how it was grown and much more.

4. It’s a great way to spend quality time with your family

Sure going to a mall or a grocery store with your kids is a great way to spend quality time together, but given the fact that it is the summer season what better way to enjoy the sunshine with your kids by strolling around your local Farmer’s Market?

This way you could help educate your children on how important it is to support the local community, and you could even help them learn more about fresh fruit and vegetables as well.

5. It offers variety

Not just limited to fresh fruit and vegetables, there are numerous other items you could purchase at a Farmer’s Market, like flowers, herbs, plants, spices, seasonings and much more. Some vendors even sell toys, pottery, clothes and paintings for an extremely cheap cost as well.

6. It supports sustainable agriculture

One of the best ways to help the environment is to support those who care about the environment as much as you do too. Buying locally-grown produce means that it helps save the amount of fuel and additional costs that it takes to ship produce from a farm to a grocery store that could be in another city or even another state away. Thus by purchasing local, fresh food is not only healthier for you and your family, but for the environment as well.

If you’re unsure as to where the nearest Farmer’s Market is, you can find out by looking in your local newspaper, at health food stores or even at garden centers for more information.

There are also various websites that list both certified as well as uncertified farmer’s markets. ( is one great resource along with and

Bio: Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where recently she’s written on sociology degree programs along with a piece on family therapist jobs. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, playing piano, and working with origami.


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