Farmers’ markets, a former staple of many communities for providing fresh fruits and vegetables, have staged a comeback in popularity in the last few years. As shoppers’ concerns about the safety, availability and prices of natural foods continue to rise, more and more people are turning to local farmers’ markets for their supplies.
Fresh, Organic and Better Tasting Products
One of the top reasons that many people have returned to buying from farmers’ markets is because the quality of the fresh produce is simply better than what is available at big chain grocery stores. Fruits and vegetables purchased from supermarkets have been picked, packaged and delivered to those stores, sitting in refrigerated trucks, in storerooms and on the shelves of the stores themselves for days or possibly longer before they arrive at a buyer’s home for consumption.
On the other hand, farmers’ markets feature products that were picked by local growers from local fields or gardens that day or the prior day, have traveled a few miles to the market and have not sat for longer than a couple of hours before arriving at the buyer’s home. That is about as fresh as it will get for fruits and vegetables not grown at home.
This timely arrival also means that the fruits and vegetables were picked at their peak of ripeness and provided while they are still fresh. Such produce is more vivid in color, more nutritious and better tasting. In addition, many farmers prefer to use non-genetically-modified seeds and chemical-free products in the planting and growing of their produce. This means that farmers market fruits and vegetables are organic and non-GMO, a fact that many local buyers appreciate.
Support for Local Farmers and Economy
When products are purchased at chain grocery stores or supermarkets, the profits typically go to companies and growers that are across the country or even halfway around the globe.
However, most farmers’ markets feature growers who live within 100 miles of the location of the community sale. By purchasing fruits and vegetables from local growers and sellers, the money that is spent on these products is kept in the same region from which the produce came. Family farmers are continuing to struggle to maintain the high costs of running a farm and to combat the competition from conglomerate farms that mass produce cheap produce. Many farmers use this profit from their goods to pay their local employees and to spend on their own needs, further putting the money into the local economy.
Care for the Soil and for the People
Industrially-grown produce, created by conglomerate-run farms, often use fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides to speed crop production and to yield greater quantities of sellable products. However, these man-made chemicals, in addition to topsoil loss due to not rotating crops properly, have disturbed the soil and reduced the nutrients absorbed by growing fruits and vegetables.
Produce chemically grown and processed by these companies has stripped the soil of nutrients without adding any quality to the produce itself. People who buy these industrially produced fruits and vegetables are deficient in many nutrients because the soil in which the plants are grown is unhealthy.
Local farmers, on the other hand, know the value of the soil and the positive effects of growing fruits and vegetables in nutrient-rich ground. By rotating crops, avoiding unnecessary chemicals and caring for the soil, these farmers bring their best produce to farmers’ markets. The buyers get nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables grown in strong soil, and they stay healthier because of this produce.
Farmers markets can be the hub of the community, bringing local growers and buyers together. These important meetings keep the people well-fed and healthy while improving the local economy.