From: Local Harvest.org
Farmers’ markets are one of the oldest forms of direct marketing by small farmers. From the traditional “mercados” in the Peruvian Andes to the unique street markets in Asia, growers all over the world gather weekly to sell their produce directly to the public. In the last decade they have become a favorite marketing method for many farmers throughout the United States, and a weekly ritual for many shoppers.
In a farmers’ market, a group of farmers sell their products once or twice a week at a designated public place like a park or parking lot. Some farmers’ markets have live entertainment. Shopping at a farmers’ market is a great way to meet local farmers and get fresh, flavorful produce.
Find a Farmers Markets near you.
1. Freshly picked, in season produce is at its peak in flavor and nutrition.Check out the Seasonal Produce Guide to learn what fruits and vegetables are in season.
2. Support your local farmers and economy.You can help new and smaller farmers be successful and save farmland in your area. The Economic Research Service provides an overview of the economic impact of local food systems.
3. Fresh fruit and vegetables are full of antioxidants and phytonutrients.What are these? Why do we need them? More information at What’s in Food.
4. It’s a great way to get your kids involved.Let them pick out something new to try, then they can help prepare a meal or snack using these tips and recipes at Kids in the Kitchen.
5. Supporting your local farmers market strengthens your community.Meet your local farmers, learn about foods grown in your area and catch up with friends and neighbors while stocking up with local goods. Learn how farmers markets impact your community in this section of the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food Compass.
6. Farmers markets offer foods that align with MyPlate guidelines.Buy foods and see how they fit with ChooseMyPlate. Visit different booths to pick up seasonal fruits and vegetables, as well as local dairy, grain and protein products so you can build your healthy plate.
7. Farmers often have recommendations for preparing their products.Visit Fruits and Veggies More Matters to see recipes that use fresh fruits and vegetables.
8. You can try a new fruit or vegetable!Have you ever tasted gooseberries or rhubarb? Many farmers markets offer lesser known fruits and vegetables, providing a variety that can be both tasty and nutritious. Learn how to select and store rare and common fruits and vegetables with the Fruit Nutrition Database and Vegetable Nutrition Database.
10. Farmers markets are easy to find.Use the USDA Farmers Markets Search to find one near you. Due to their flexible locations, some community farmers markets provide fresh, healthy foods when other sources aren’t as easily accessed. Learn more about how the USDA helps to expand healthy food access through the development of local food systems.
Image credit: (bottom right) Sstevenson24, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=739885