I’m excited because it’s almost farmer’s market season here in Pennsylvania. I really enjoy browsing farmer’s markets, especially during the summer and fall. I love wandering through the different booths, talking to local vendors, and trying all those delicious homemade dips and jellies and spreads.
The food system in America today is very industrialized, and there’s often a disconnect between the foods we eat and us knowing where they actually come from. I think farmer’s markets are a great way to reconnect with nature and meet the amazing local people who grow your food. Visiting a market is often an opportunity to learn something new, too: in my experience, farmers have always been happy to answer any questions, discuss their processes, and provide insight and knowledge.
I love experimenting with new recipes in the kitchen. If you’re like me, and crave variety in your cooking, farmer’s markets are a nice way to enjoy the flavors of each changing season. When Alan and I lived in central Pennsylvania, we were fortunate to have a convenient produce stand close to our apartment that we visited often. In the warmer months, there was always a great selection of peppers, onions, zucchini, cucumbers, and even cantaloupe. As the weather became cooler, pumpkins, root vegetables, and corn stalks started to appear on the tables.
There’s also an important economic component to shopping locally: by supporting local businesses, you can help strengthen your community and provide income for family farms. You may also save some money, too. Fruits and vegetables grown on local farms can be organically grown, but often don’t carry the hefty price tag you’re used to seeing in grocery stores. One big reason for this cost-savings is that local farmers don’t have the high cross-country shipping costs that larger companies often incur.
If you’re looking to find a farmer’s market near you, the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service has a handy search tool online located here. I did a quick search using my current zip code, and the results seemed pretty accurate to me. Happy shopping!