What are the benefits of shopping at the local market?

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Answered by: Barbara, An Expert in the All About Farmers Markets Category
With the rise in popularity of farmers’ markets as of late many people wonder what the benefits of shopping locally versus buying groceries at the big retail chains might be.

Super markets offer convenience and low pricing to customers; which is what is desired by most people. Our lives are busy and most families find very little time to sit down to a meal, much less cook from scratch. This fact has resulted in the food industry creating food that some would say is more a food-like-product. It has also brought a huge change in the type of foods we eat, which look nothing like the food our grandparents ate. These foods contain high amounts of preservatives, unhealthy fats, pesticides, and tons of sugar. The monetary cost may be low for these products, but how high will be the health costs?

Visiting your local farmers’ market can have many an unexpected benefit. When you shop at a farmers’ market you are most certainly supporting your local economy, as well as providing income to a farmer that is higher than what they might get from selling their goods to a grocery store (no middle man or shipping costs).

The food you purchase from the local market is also packed with nutrients and vitamins due to it being picked not long before it was brought to the market; most grocery stores receive their products weeks after they were harvested. Visiting a farmers’ market can also provide a wonderful opportunity for families to spend time together learning about their local foods and enjoying a much needed break from the busy everyday activities we seem to fill our lives with.

Foods at the markets are also not as expensive as some believe; think about how many times you went to the grocery store with a list of a few items and walked out spending $80. Impulse buying at the farmers’ market rarely results in buyer’s remorse.

Another wonderful aspect of the local market is how varied the products are as opposed to the grocery store. I had never seen a lemon cucumber in my life until one day visiting the farmers’ market I was given a chance to sample one, it was just as tasty as a regular cucumber if not more so. That's another great thing about the market, many producers love to let people try their products.

Shopping at a farmers’ market can be a wonderful addition to your regular shopping routine, or as some people have done, replace the bulk of your grocery store purchases. I can say I have never dreaded spending a Saturday afternoon walking around our local farmers’ market but I have actually experienced panic attacks at the mere thought of having to make a trip to the local grocery store. People always seem grumpy and in a hurry at the big box stores; but an air of friendliness, fun, and genuine happiness seems to fill my farmers’ market.

If you have contemplated going to a farmers’ market but never found the time, I recommend setting aside a Saturday and going down with some family or friends. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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