9 Reasons To Try Shopping at a Farmer’s Market

There’s good news for the local food movement: the number of farmers’ markets in the United States is on the rise. So much so that there’s a National Farmer’s Market Week (it’s the first week in August if you were wondering). In honor of that week, we compiled 9 of our favorite ways that farmer’s market shopping differs from your traditional grocery shopping experience.

  1. Meet some farmers. Get to know the person who’s responsible for those delicious-looking tomatoes you’re buying! This can be a great opportunity to learn more about how and where your food is produced. Plus you may even get a few recipe tips.
  2. Bring your furry friend. Your local supermarket probably won’t let you bring along a pet, but most public farmer’s markets are pet-friendly. Make sure you check before you go and be sure your pet is comfortable in crowds.
  3. Get some fresh air and exercise. The opportunity to get outside on a beautiful day might be more appealing to you than shopping under the lights at the grocery store. It’s like a walk outdoors with purpose (a multi-tasker’s dream).
  4. Shop for handmade products made by local artisans. Farmer’s markets usually offer more than just food. Many times unique items can be purchased by local vendors.
  5. Taste testing. Taste testing is half the fun of the market experience. Not sure which strawberries to buy? Sample all of them!
  6. Fresh food. There’s no long-distance shipping or storage involved with these fruits and veggies. Most come straight from the farm to the market and home to your fork. This allows farmers to pick produce when it’s ripe, resulting in optimum flavor.
  7. Save a buck. Many farmers provide cheaper produce (particularly organic) when compared to grocery store prices. You do have to bring cash though, so visit the ATM before you arrive at the market.
  8. Variety. Farmer’s markets provide a large variety of foods that you may not see in your local supermarket, particularly seasonal foods that are specific to your region. Purple cauliflower, green tomatoes and red carrots, anyone?
  9. Experience real community. Meet up with friends, listen to some live music and enjoy a slice of community life at the market.

Ready to savor produce at the peak of freshness and enjoy other benefits of farmers markets?  Check out a list of Raleigh-area farmer’s markets, including NC State’s weekly campus farmer’s market.