Monday, August 7, 2017

Visit the Farmers Market This Summer!

There are lots of Farmers Markets during the summer in the Metro area. There are the larger ones in Minneapolis and St Paul in permanent locations and smaller ones in local communities often simply held in the parking lot of a church or business.
What is a Farmers Market?
It's a space where local farmers can sell directly to you, the consumer--basically, an outside grocery store. There's no admission fee, just walk around and enjoy the experience!

What's the advantage of buying from a Farmers Market?
  • Your food will be much fresher: sometimes, the items were just picked the morning of sale.
  • In most cases, your food has only traveled 50 miles or less to market, not thousands of miles from another country. The food that travels so far has to be treated with preservatives to last long enough to get to the store. Farmers Market food doesn't need that.
  • Farmers can choose to grow produce to sell that doesn't need a lot of 'treatment,' thus giving you new varieties to try
  • The money you give the farmer or his helpers, mostly goes directly to the farmer (they are paying a small fee to have a stall at the market)
  • Often the food sold is organic or pesticide-free
  • The sense of community in a Farmers Market is a very important factor: You and others in your community are buying things grown by neighbors.

  • You will almost certainly find things at a Farmers Market that you won't see at a supermarket.
  • Education: The farmers can tell you all about the things they're selling. A supermarket clerk might not know much about tomatoes or cucumbers or which types keep well, for example. The vendors are more than happy to share knowledge with you-Just ask!
  • Sales at Farmers Markets may encourage farmers to keep farming, thus preserving farmland
  • Farmers can get to know each other and help each other at the market
  • Remember, if prices seem high, these farmers are pricing according to the relatively small amounts they're selling. They aren't selling a hundred acres worth of corn to a supermarket, but a couple of acres worth directly to the community. They've figured in what it has cost to produce it and then make a profit. You'll notice most of the farmers there will have similar prices.
 Some excellent explanations of whys and hows about Farmers Markets:
Where are Farmers Markets around here?
Here's a great link giving locations in the North Metro:  There are 139 Farmers Markets in the Minneapolis area!
What do they sell? Each Farmers Market has a different selection, but you may find:
  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Cheese
  • Bread
  • Honey
  • Herbs and spices
  • Baked goods: Breads, pies, and other treats
  • Freshly grown herbs
  • Meat (sometimes)
  • Beeswax candles
  • Homemade soaps
  • Flowers: Buy a bouquet at $7 or less
  • Seasonally available things such as apples, squash, pumpkins in fall
  • Potted plants: Bedding plants, vegetables, perennials
  • Maple syrup
  • Local products: things grown more often in Minnesota than elsewhere, such as blueberries, wild rice, cranberries
  • Sometimes local craftspeople will sell jewelry, art, or other handmade items as well
  • Some vendors sell breakfast or lunch as well, and sometimes there are food trucks
  • Often there are musicians performing at a Farmers Market
I encourage you to visit a local Farmers Market this summer: There's nothing better than fresh!!

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