As supermarkets continue to grow and expand various departments, it’s clear that something else gets pushed by the wayside – the charm and sense of community you get when shopping at a small market. Convenience and multiple options are wonderful things, but as more and more people aim to eat healthier and support locally owned and operated businesses, farmer’s markets are becoming more popular. The number of farmer’s markets has increased 60% in the past five years!
Whether you explore on your own with a specific list in mind or make it a family trip to experience the joys of shopping al fresco, visiting a local farmer’s market is a journey you’ll want to repeat. It’s the type of event that can make you feel like you’re a part of your surroundings and inspire you to try new things.
We all spend so much time in our homes, cars, and offices that the opportunity to get out in our community and stroll the street with other shoppers can be a grounding experience. It seems we have forgotten the sheer pleasure of getting to know the people and things around us – to engage all of our senses.
This is the time to talk with farmers and learn how they got started or how they grow their food. While shoulder to shoulder with another visitor who’s picking up a vegetable you’ve never purchased, ask them how to prepare it or how it tastes. Look at the variety of colors, smell the scents of the fresh, local food, feel the texture of the items, and yes, taste the samples.
Your goal may be to support your local community or it could be to step out of the norm. Either way, a trip to a community farmer’s market could be the start of something special. It could become a routine to get out in the fresh air or maybe simply motivation to eat healthy or broadens one’s perspective.
Shopping at a farmer’s market also allow you to do something for your community by supporting local farmers. Coming armed with information helps even more – before going, learn what’s in season. Bring plenty of cash in small bills because not all stands will have enough change. A small cart works best or carry some reusable bags to tote purchases. To truly feel welcome in this community, remember there is generally no bargaining like there is in a flea market. After all, you are supporting local.
With 52% of people surveyed saying it’s more important to them to buy local than it is to buy organic*, locally owned and operated markets, businesses, and restaurants are thriving. It’s about stepping back and appreciating what’s right around you. So, as large supermarket chains continue to expand their stores and their product lines, we encourage you to expand your horizons by going small and local at a farmer’s market.