The fruits and vegetables you buy from your local farmer are the freshest and tastiest available. Fruits are allowed to ripen fully in the field and picked just for you—no long-distance shipping, no gassing to simulate the ripening process, no sitting for weeks in storage. This food is as real as it gets—fresh from the farm!
2. Enjoy the Season
The food you buy from your local farmer is seasonal. It is fresh and delicious and reflects the truest flavors. Shopping and cooking produce from your local farmer helps you to reconnect with the cycles of nature in our region. As you look forward to asparagus in spring, savor sweet corn in summer, or bake pumpkins in autumn, you reconnect with the earth, the weather, and the turning of the year.
3. Support Family Farmers
Family farmers need your support, now that large agribusiness dominates food production in the U.S. Small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from your local farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy.
4. Help Protect our Environment
Save fuel and packing by shopping at the farmers’ market! Food at the farmers market is transported much shorter distances than food that is found in the grocery store, which is shipped on average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate. Local produce is often stacked in reusable crates and can be placed right into your bag without any additional packaging.
5. Nourish Yourself
Much of the food found in grocery stores is highly processed and grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. Some of it has been irradiated, waxed, or gassed in transit. In contrast, most food found at the farmers market is minimally processed, and many of our farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by using sustainable techniques, picking produce right before the market, and growing heirloom varieties.
6. Discover the Spice of Life: Variety
At the farmers market you find an amazing array of produce that you don’t see in your average supermarket: red carrots, a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, purple cauliflower, garlic scapes, watermelon radishes, duck eggs, maitake mushrooms, and much, much more. It is a wonderful opportunity to savor the biodiversity of our planet.
7. Promote Humane Treatment of Animals
At the farmers market, you can find meats, cheeses, and eggs from animals that have grazed on green grass and have been spared the cramped living conditions of large commercial operations.
8. Know Where Your Food and Farm Products Come From
A regular trip to a farmers market is one of the best ways to connect with where your food comes from. Meeting and talking to farmers and artisans is a great opportunity to learn more about how and where the products are produced and learn about the people who work hard to bring you the most delicious and nutritious food and farm products around.
9. Learn From Your Farmers
Farmers, ranchers, and artisans at the farmers market are often passionate about their products. They can tell you how it was produced and give you free advice on how to cook the foods they are selling, take care of animals or what it takes to make a great bar of goat soap.
10. Connect with Your Community
Wouldn’t you rather stroll amidst outdoor stalls of fresh produce on a sunny day than roll your cart around a grocery store with artificial lights and piped in music? Coming to the farmers market makes shopping a pleasure rather than a chore. The farmers market is a community hub—a place to meet up with your friends, bring your children and family.
Farmers’ markets sell recently harvested produce; usually less than 24 hours since harvesting. Store bought items may have been harvested days before sale.
12. Locally produced.
Items at farmer's markets are produced by local families on local soil. Local farmers have a passion for the community just like you the customer. They take pride in their products and have a desire to provide an exceptional fresh product for you the customer.
13. Nutritional value.
Nutritional value sharply declines as time passes. Foods that have been sitting on grocery shelves, or in warehouses, or traveled long distances, suffer nutritionally. The goal is to eat food as soon as possible after it has been harvested. Nutritional content is greater with fresh and local foods since they have been harvested recently and haven’t taken as long to arrive on your plate.
14. Better taste.
Sample a strawberry that was recently picked. Not only does nutrition improve when eating local, seasonal produce, but flavor also skyrockets. Items are picked at their peak, not artificially “forced” or “restrained” from reaching ripeness.
15. Cleaner and safer.
Farmer's markets items are from small farms that typically use no or far less chemicals than large commercial operations and can share information about their production practices. Food sold in regular stores can often have chemicals that are unknown to the buyer.
16. Custom sizing.
Pick one or two carrots if that’s all you need. You won’t be forced to buy an entire bag. Same with other items. Buy portions that match your needs, which means less waste and less over-eating.
17. Control what you’re getting.
Inspect items for freshness. You won’t be forced to buy items that are pre-packaged and hard to tell their quality. In stores, foods and herbs are often sold in sealed containers. How often do you get home and open them only to find they’re over-ripe, wilted, or slimy?
18. Keeps our communities healthy, too.
The more we support local farmers who grow food in healthy ways, the more they--and their beautiful farmland--will flourish. Buying at local markets puts money directly into the pockets of local farmers and craftspeople rather than large industry.
19. Free exercise.
We can often walk or bike to the markets, getting free exercise. Besides, simply walking in the open air is a good way to get vitamin D.
20. Fun and educational for the whole family.
Engaging with farmers and local artisans can be full of discovery and excitement. Bring the kids. Ask for recipe tips on how to prepare food in healthy, tasty ways. Bump into neighbors and friends. Enjoy a sense of shared belonging and caring. Shopping in grocery stores can be an isolating experience and a chore. By contrast, shopping at farmer markets reinforces social bonds and can be a fun activity for the whole family.
Copyright 2017 by Northeast CT Farmers Market Association, Inc.