Buy Local – Unbelievable Freshness!
A farmers’ market is an ever-recurring and public gathering of local producers or their authorized representatives selling their products directly to consumers at markets. Each farmer’s market defines the word local differently according to its region and most regularly communicates this definition to the community. The word local refers to the quality of the produce from that specific area. The market is held on the date and time specified by the producer. These markets usually occur each Saturday during the growing season.
A typical farmers’ market provides local produce, livestock, fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and locally produced foods are very tasty and satisfying. Most people enjoy eating fresh foods because of the pleasant texture and flavor and the satisfaction that eating local gives. Some people refer to Farmers markets as “food festivals” or “gourmet fairs”.
There are many benefits for attending farmers markets including the exposure to different types of seasonal produce. Variety of livestock such as goats, cows, sheep and chickens are usually available for purchase at farmers’ markets. Fruit and baked goods vendors also offer a wide variety of different goods.
In early years the concept of farmers’ market was not well established. Farmers markets were simply gathering places where people would gather to buy locally grown foods. However, over time different regions began to form associations with the purpose of promoting agriculture.
Today, farmers’ markets are an integral part of the supplemental nutrition system in the United States. Various studies have indicated that farmers’ markets, as compared to store-bought foods have a much greater role in maintaining weight loss and improving nutrition. Farmers markets offer a wide range of healthy, low-calorie, nutrient-rich foods and beverages. Supplemental nutrition programs like the WIC and FNS utilize farmers markets to promote healthy eating.
In some regions of the united states, like Washington D.C., farmers’ markets have become an important economic activity in terms of sales tax revenue. Local food markets have also been promoted by school nutrition programs. The National Organic Program encourages schools to offer more healthy foods to students through its organic farming program. Another USDA farm bill proposal seeks to make it easier for local producers to sell goods directly to consumers, eliminating the need for a middleman.
There is currently no federal law regulating the sale of foods produced by independent or privately owned farms. Each state is responsible for establishing its own guidelines and requirements for inspection and certification. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is responsible for establishing the National Organic Program, but does not inspect farmers markets or establish certification standards. On the national level, independent organizations such as The Agriculture Department, National Organic Standards Board and National Organic Advertising Bureau provide guidelines and certifications. However, even the self-regulating group has had trouble getting states to meet their standards.
The good news is that consumers can help farmers’ markets stay healthy by purchasing fresh, organic produce and avoiding food safety risks. Consumers should demand safe and healthy food. They should buy from farmers who care about the environment and work hard to promote sustainable agriculture. They should have a USDA seal on their label and be able to demonstrate that they follow all of the necessary food safety standards. They should be able to provide detailed information about how they process and where their produce comes from.
Farmers markets do not necessarily sell all of their produce to consumers. Some vendors participate in farmer market programs, providing local produce to schools, hospitals and senior centers. They may also sell products at farmers’ markets to increase awareness or to generate donations. These vendors should use secure facilities and offer receipts for their products.
A market manager should be available to answer questions about farmers’ markets. Farmers markets are not public enterprises; therefore, no licenses are required to operate them. An experienced market manager will know the regulations and policies of their state and county. The market manager will facilitate discussions between growers and processors and assist them in determining the best produce to sell at farmers’ markets. The market manager will work with processors to determine the best pricing strategies for their products.
For consumers, healthy produce means more nutritious foods and fewer harmful pesticides and chemicals. Processing vegetables at farms help farmers avoid using chemicals that cause pesticides to be sprayed on vegetables and fruits, which may be harmful to people’s health. Fresh produce can be shipped to consumers fresh from the fields. Farmers markets provide a range of fresh foods and beverages. In order to ensure consumers have access to a variety of healthy foods and beverages, farmers’ markets are an ideal solution.