Adding some color to your meals with seasonal fruits and veggies is one of the best moves you can make to fuel your body, support your community, and protect the planet. Without a doubt, the most enjoyable way to get your hands on this tasty produce is to visit your local farmers’ market!
Before buying a product, many of us will weigh its value against the value of the competition. This evaluation can include any number of factors from price to nutritional value and more. In-season produce from a farmer’s market consistently beats out the competition in nearly every category.
Here’s everything you need to know about farmers’ markets and how you can enjoy one!
The Best Seasonal Fruits & Veggies Around
When you step into a farmers’ market, you see vibrant produce and enthusiastic sellers. What you don’t see is frozen produce that’s been shipped around the world because it’s not locally in-season.
Choosing seasonal fruits and vegetables over their frozen counterparts has a multitude of benefits. Taste, price, nutritional value, and eco-friendliness are some of the most attractive perks of buying seasonal produce at a farmers’ market.
In general, taste is a driving factor behind many — if not all — purchasing decisions. When food is produced on a large scale, flavor is often sacrificed. Independent farmers, on the other hand, take great pride in their produce. Their passion allows them to cultivate tasty and delicious seasonal fruits and veggies.
Likewise, the nutritional value of fresh produce tends to be higher while in-season. For example, broccoli — primarily a fall vegetable — loses some nutritional value when out-of-season. Research suggests that broccoli grown in the fall has contains nearly twice as much vitamin C as broccoli grown in the spring.
Furthermore, seasonal fruits and veggies have significantly fewer food miles than any imported food. Since there’s very little transportation and virtually no preservatives involved, local produce at a farmers’ market is some of the greenest produce you can find.
Fewer food miles can also mean that local produce is more affordable. With low transportation costs, local farmers can usually afford to sell their fruits and veggies at a fair price that allows you to eat and farmers to live comfortably.
More Than Just Seasonal Fruits & Veggies
Although the hallmark of farmers’ markets is fresh produce, there’s so much more to do at a farmers’ market than just buy fruits and vegetables. Local artists, retailers, and artisans also call the farmers’ market home.
The San Francisco Ferry Building, for example, boasts vendors of the highest quality. Along with fresh produce, wood-fired pizza, specialty jams, and fancy cheese are just a few of the other local treasures you’ll find. You might even learn something by taking part in an in-market cooking class!
Furthermore, the farmers’ market brings out unique artisanal goods. For instance, at the Main Street Farmers Market in Chattanooga, Tennessee, stunning art, fresh-baked goods, and even live music abound. Particularly, the whiskey maple syrup, a personal favorite of mine, remains one of the most unique and delicious specialties.
Support Your Local Farmers
When you shop at a farmers’ market, your purchase has a direct positive impact on the local community. Without the seemingly endless flow of resources available to large food corporations, small farmers have a tough time competing.
Fortunately — aside from seasonal fruits and veggies that are easy on your wallet and the planet — local farmers offer something that big businesses don’t: knowledge and expertise. Farmers’ market vendors are people too, and they know a lot about what they’re selling.
By simply talking to a farmer or vendor, you’ll quickly learn something — or a lot of things — about the food you eat. They’re proud of their work and they’ll be more than happy to talk shop with you!
Don’t have time to talk? Even just a small “Hi, how are you?” when you approach their stand will likely make their day.
Seasonal Fruits & Veggies at Your Farmers’ Market
Although frozen and canned produce can be great — especially if you’re buying in bulk — seasonal fruits and veggies from local farmers provide a lot of value. Your local farmers’ market offers the best selection of local, quality produce for an affordable price.
There’s so much more to a farmers’ market than just fresh produce, though. Visiting your farmers’ market will allow you to enjoy extraordinary local flavors. All while supporting local farmers, artisans, and more.
What are some of your favorite farmers’ market finds? Leave a comment and let us know!