Insights & Actions for Healthy Living
Benefits of Farmer’s Market Shopping in the “Off Season”

Benefits of Farmer’s Market Shopping in the “Off Season”

Don’t we love going to the farmer’s market!

I truly enjoy the freshness, aroma and the color of the entire experience — not to mention anticipation of the wonderful flavors I will find.

Naturally we are going to get farm fresh foods and homemade items that we can’t get anywhere else.

Over time we even get to know the grower’s and appreciate what it takes to bring this farm goodness to us.

Unfortunately, in many parts of the country the farmer’s market is only available a few months in the summer. You are lucky if you have access to a farmer’s market open more than that.

Recently I visited a year round farmer’s market that intrigued me due to the fact that I was very skeptical about what would be in the bins, after all the gardens in the area had just been planted. What food would be locally grown and ready for me to buy?

Farmer’s Market Adventure

Pleasantly surprised I found many fresh vegetables and goodies I had forgotten about. I found several items that I had to have and farm fresh produce that made it to my menu!

Treasures I found:

Fresh Produce

Of course as expected there was produce such as ripe tomatoes, ears of corn, eggplant, summer squash, apples, peanuts in the shell, melons, strawberries, beans and more. Some of this was in season in my area but others were shipped in but still fresher and cheaper than the grocery.

This selection will only increase as the season continues and local growers have more to bring to market. Some of the produce also came from hothouses so was fresh and local.

Garden Plants

You might find some wonderful plants for the home vegetable garden.

It was the right time of year to get my garden going just like the local small farmers and there was an abundance of seed varieties, newly sprouted veggies and plants ready to set fruit.

Herbs

There was no shortage of herbs ready to thrive in the herb garden, window box or kitchen windowsill. All your favorite flavors were there! Basil, parsley, thyme, cilantro, lemon grass, garlic, mint, and more were waiting to come home with me.

I found something new that I never heard of before and was dying to make a tea out of – chocolate mint! It smelled just like a chocolate mint candy and had a brownish tinge to the green leaves. What a true treasure.

Homemade Foods

On the shelves were the traditional standbys of jams, jellies and chow chow mixes. There were other varieties of more unusual items liked pickled eggs and pigs feet.

There were even bottles of homemade wine from blueberries, blackberries and elderberries.

Raw Milk

Milk right from the cow was stored in refrigerators, ready to take home.

Flowers

Some beautiful blooms ready for a vase but also potted varieties ready for your flower beds.

There were many varieties and colors not found in the local DIY store.

Baked Goods

Breads, muffins, cake, pies, and other items are available made fresh from local artisans.

Bee products

Local honey, honeycombs, wax and even pollen.

Handmade Crafts

You can find handmade craft items made by local artists such as dolls, candles, quilts.

Gardening Products

Worms and other gardening products such as compost and soil enhancers.

Meat and Meat Products

Local meat, chicken and fish plus eggs and products like sausage was kept in cold storage there from local ranchers. You can even find game like deer and rabbit.

Friendly, Knowledgeable Staff

Friendly and helpful people who were excited to tell you all about the products and growers. They welcome you in and hope you come back for more!

Benefits of Farmer’s Market Shopping

Farmer’s markets bring great produce and other products to us that we may have to search for in other locations.

  • The greatest part of buying at a farmer’s market is getting the freshest, most nutritious produce and foods in season.
  • We get to know our grower’s and their methods, ensuring that we are eating healthy foods.
  • We don’t always have to pick the most perfect produce to get the most nutritious items.
  • We support our local economy and community when we stay local and buy farm fresh.
  • Farmer’s markets are a great source of new information to use foods with which we may not be familiar and ways to cook them. Recipes and suggestions are there from people who live it!
  • It is great that federal nutrition programs are now participants in farmer’s markets. Seniors on SNAP and families on WIC can use their benefits to get fresh, in season foods to help provide nutrition and stretch the budget.
  • Another great opportunity of being a frequent visitor to a farmer’s market is learning about new foods. There are great varieties there and new ways to use old favorites.
  • Taking a trip to the farmer’s market is a wonderful way to share with your kids the fun adventure of picking and growing fresh produce.
  • If you need a little help knowing what to look for when buying produce and storing them once you bring them home at their peak of freshness, you will find these guides helpful.

I have several small farmer’s markets nearer to me than this year round one but they are only open during the summer months. This large, indoor farmer’s market will definitely be a place I visit again to get my farm fresh fix.

I hope you enjoy exploring all the treasures in your farmer’s market. To find a market near you use this Farmer’s Market Locator.

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