Organic Food Guide

Why―and How―to Shop at a Farmers’ Market

Four reasons to buy regional food. Plus, tips and hints for shopping a farmers’ market.

By Candy Gianetti
People at a farmers' marketChristopher Baker

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1. You know what you’re getting. When you buy produce from the supermarket, it’s hard to tell where the produce came from, what chemicals or pesticides may have been used in growing it, or what labor practices the growers employ, says Erin Barnett, director of LocalHarvest.org, a website that connects consumers with organic, sustainable, and local farms. Buying directly from the farmer allows you to ask questions. Exactly how old is the produce? Did it ripen on a vine or in a truck? And if you’re the show-me type, the farms are close enough to visit.

2. The food is fresher. Many fruits and vegetables at the supermarket are picked before they’re fully ripe so they can survive the journey from the farm to your table―which can take as long as two weeks. Local farmers, on the other hand, can wait to pick produce at its peak, so you get the maximum taste, nutritional value, and freshness.

3. You help the environment. Buying at the farmers’ market reduces grocery-store-packaging waste and the energy used for lengthy refrigerated storage.

4. You support local farmers. Only about 25 to 30 cents of every dollar that you pay for fresh produce at a market goes to the grower. By buying direct, you help farmers get a fair price, which in turn, helps them stay in business. What’s more, you’re keeping your food dollars in your local economy.
 
Read More About:Shopping & Storing

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