One of the fastest growing trends in this country for consumers, according to recent estimates, farmers’ markets. In a rural community, there is usually an abundance of local resources such as local businesses that can offer consumers access to high quality food. However, the market provides so much more than just fresh food. With the influx of online web sites and books that include how to do it yourself recipes, there are many ways to connect directly with local producers while enjoying the comfort of having your food delivered to your door.
Why do farmers’ markets work? According to USDA reports on food consumption, satisfaction from the sale of this product (in the form of food and satisfaction from the purchase) tends to exceed satisfaction from the purchase of processed foods over the internet by 50 percent. Satisfaction from the experience of preparing and cooking meals, as well as the direct experience of buying the final product often contributes to the stronger connection between the farmer and the consumer. These direct experiences lead consumers to trust the producers and report greater levels of satisfaction in everything they purchase.
But consumers have a wide range of options available to them when deciding where to buy their food. Why should they visit a farmers market? There are many excellent reasons why. Many farmers’ markets are owned and operated by community groups who care about the environment and want to promote a healthy lifestyle among their customers. By purchasing products from small-scale producers, customers not only help to support their local economy, but also improve the quality of life for those in need.
Community groups can be found all over the United States. One of the most successful is the South Carolina Grower’s Market, which has been providing consumers with access to quality, local produce since 1974. The market is run by the SC Grows Association, and each Saturday morning, more than a dozen growers gather at the association’s farm, community farm or market to share information, grow their crops and bond with fellow farmers. The market allows consumers to not only check out the produce, but shop for locally produced clothing, homemade baked goods, homemade fruits and vegetables, hay, eggs and other farm products.
Farmers markets do not just provide consumers with fresh produce. In addition to this, they often offer crafts and other products that are made on the farm, including jewelry, clothes, furniture and hardware. For example, on the fairgrounds of some farmers markets, you will find furniture handmade by the children of the family that grows it on the land. At another market, you will see children making jewelry, such as necklaces, bracelets, earrings and hair accessories.
On a larger scale, farmers’ markets offer wholesale foods. These include fresh produce, meats and seafood, as well as dairy products and other specialty foods. These markets usually have a variety of choices, from organic, fair trade products to products from several different manufacturers. On smaller scales, farmers markets also offer baked goods, coffee, juice and small retail shops. There are even farmers’ markets in urban areas, such as New York and Miami, where fresh fruit and vegetables are grown in front of large apartment buildings.
The structure of a farmer’s market is very different than that of a regular market. Unlike a regular market, where shoppers go from store to store looking for what they want, at farmers markets, consumers go from crop to crop. Farmers markets usually start in a field or two near your home, in the backyard or on the outskirts of town. Farmers markets set up in parks, schools, playgrounds and other public areas, as well as on private land that has been inspected and cultivated. Once inside the fields, the produce is delivered in baskets, wrapped in paper and placed in metal or wooden crates, which are then lifted onto a waiting truck.
No matter how you choose to shop, you can benefit from a farmers’ market. Freshly picked produce is healthier, tastier and often cheaper than what you would find at a supermarket. It is great for families on a budget and those who enjoy the healthy benefits, but do not necessarily want to pay full price for organic foods. It is also more convenient than shopping at a traditional market. You do not have to drive far from home to find the product you need, instead you can sit down in your chair and order right from your kitchen table. It is also a great way to introduce your children to the healthy food they should learn to eat.