Several days ago The Budget Ecoist posted the first of a two-part series on organic food concerning CSAs and Farmers’ Markets. The first post described CSAs. For today’s post we’ll be focusing on Farmers’ Markets.
As mentioned previously, Farmers’ Markets and CSAs are a great alternative to acquiring your organic produce (and protein, and honey, and flowers, etc) if you opt against shopping at large grocery stores, with less selection, and pricey natural and organic high-end markets.
So let’s pick up this conversation where we last left off, shall we? In today’s post we will discuss all things Farmers’ Markets: what they are, what you can expect from them, and where you can find them.
What they are: According to Local Harvest, Farmers’ Markets are “one of the oldest forms of direct marketing by small farmers.” Essentially, growers gather weekly at as designated location where the community can come and purchase the fruits of their labors, literally (and sample as well! Yum!). This offers the consumer not only the opportunity to develop a relationship with the people who grow their food, but also the opportunity to acquire the freshest food possible since you’re getting it straight from the source.
What to expect: Farmers’ markets come in all shapes and sizes. For example, the one I frequent weekly is offered year-round because a warm (lucky me!) climate means a longer (and sometimes year-round) growing season. Other Farmers’ Markets might only run from spring through mid-autumn. The size of your Farmers’ Market is most-likely determined by the public. If a lot of customers come, a lot of farmers will come, and therefore you will have a bigger market. Small customer base means a smaller market. Larger markets can include entertainment, usually in the form of a musician and a guitar, a balloon-maker, or face painter for the kids. I won’t hide that I am a HUGE fan of Farmers’ Markets! 90% of the food I need can be acquired at the market, fresher and less expensive, to boot! So if your local Farmers’ Market is leaving something to be desired, the best thing you can do is help create a demand. If customers are there, they will come!
Where you can find them: Check out Local Harvest where you can do a search that specifies CSAs near your city or zip code.