Get the most out of fresh summer produce by heading to a local farmers market.
Going local has never been so popular. A recent study done by the BC Association of Farmers Markets (BCAFM) found that the number of farmers’ markets in BC alone has grown by 62 percent in the past six years—and that 20 percent of market shoppers are trying out the
local market scene for the first time.
This is one bandwagon worth jumping on—farmers’ markets are a great way to get back in touch with the origins of our food, combining fresh seasonal produce with the opportunity to form new friendships and even enjoy some live entertainment. With new markets popping up across Canada, take the opportunity this summer to get out of the grocery aisle and give one a try.
Fresh is best
Fruits and vegetables are most nutritionally rich when ripe. But when produce has to travel long distances to our grocery stores, it is often picked before ripening—and will therefore never reach its nutritional peak. Buying local from a farmers’ market gives your fruits and veggies a chance to reach their full potential without having to spend long, dark days in transit.
Make a friend
Farmers’ markets put a social aspect back into your food shopping. Instead of mowing through aisles with your head bent over a grocery cart, the face-to-face setting makes it easy to reach out to both farmers and other shoppers. Ask the farmer handing over a bag of beets about his crop this year, or turn to the person pawing the broccoli beside you and find out what brought her out for the day. More than half of the respondents in the BCAFM study reported spending 50 percent of their market time socializing. You have nothing to lose except the chance to learn something or meet somebody new!
Some farmers’ markets even feature live music, letting you bond with other market-goers as you bobble your heads along to the beat.
Support local agriculture
The increased interest in buying local increases the emphasis on sustainable farming, and protecting local land. By buying local, you’re sending the message that these farmers and their crops are important—and increasing revenue to support these crucial agricultural practices.
Find a local market near you and give one a try this weekend!