Why Should I Shop at a Farmers Market?


According to the United States Department of Agriculture, there are more than 4,800 farmers markets operating throughout the nation. So what’s the appeal?

Why Should I Shop at a Farmers Market versus a Conventional Grocery Store?
The sustainably grown food offered at farmers markets is often going to taste better, retain more naturally-occurring nutrients and be fresher than the equivalent produce in grocery stores. Farmers markets provide you the opportunity to ask questions about the growing methods directly to the farmers. In addition to fruits and vegetables, many farmers markets also sell meats, flowers, plants, cheeses or wines, sold by the farmers that produce them.

Okay—That Sounds Good. Now How Do I Find a Farmers Market Near Me?
Check in the newspaper or at a health food store to find listings of farmers markets and local farms. There are also several options available online, such as localharvest.org or farmersmarket.com, that allow you to search by city, state or region. Depending on your location, there may be several options, so try them all out—you may discover you like the taste of one farmer’s carrots over another’s, or the selection and prices may vary by farm or market.

Will This Cost More? And What if I Can’t Find the Produce I’m Looking For?
Typically, shopping at farmers markets or family farms will save you money. When you purchase locally-grown food, the cost of shipping and packaging is taken out of the equation. And when it comes to getting the produce you’re looking for, farmers markets sell what’s in season—so you may not find granny smith apples if it’s not the peak season for apples. However, the trade-off for freshness is often worth it. And you can also supplement any missing ingredients with canned or frozen produce.

In choosing to shop at farmers markets, not only will you be supporting your local economy, but you’ll also be reducing the negative impacts of production, packaging, transport and shipping that is often part of the supply chain of getting produce to conventional grocery stores. Reducing your environmental impact in these ways is just an added bonus to the tasty, fresh produce you’ll discover at local farms and farmers markets!

Nathan Joynt works with Gaiam and Spiritual Cinema Circle – advocates for health and wellness through motivational movies and lifestyle media.