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Top Reasons to Shop at a Farmers Market

 Ed. Note: This is a cross post from the USDA Blog

Why shop at a Farmers Market?

Access to fresh, locally grown foods, for starters. That may be one of the best reasons, but there are many more. Farmers markets have fruits and vegetables at the peak of the growing season. This means produce is at its freshest and tastes the best. The food is typically grown near where you live, not thousands of miles away or another country. Shopping at farmers markets also supports your local farmers and keeps the money you spend on food closer to your neighborhood.

Nutrition.gov recently filmed a video to promote the benefits of shopping at farmers markets, featuring a registered dietitian as she talks with farmers and customers at the market.  And here’s a sneak peek at our Top 10 Reasons to Shop at Farmers Markets with links to resources to help you find local markets and get the most out of your market experience:

  1. Many farmers markets do paper and plastic
    In addition to cash, many farmers markets now accept credit cards, SNAP benefits, and other nutrition benefits.  Just remember to bring your reusable shopping bag!

     

  2. Something new
    Farmers markets feature what’s at the peak of season in your region, so you can often find your favorites, along with new items that will stretch your culinary imagination. Have you ever tasted gooseberries or rhubarb?  Seen a Brussels sprout stalk? Slurped a donut peach?  These are some things you might find (and be able to sample!) at your local farmers market.  Who knows, maybe you will discover some new favorites!

     

  3. Learn a farmer’s secret
    On market day, farmers love to share their secrets. First among them are tips on how to prepare fresh offerings, so if you need to know what to do with kohlrabi or are looking for something to bump up your tomato salsa, just ask.

     

  4. Follow the rainbow
    A great way to eat healthy is to put a spectrum of colorful fruits and vegetables on your plate. They are full of great nutrients, including antioxidants and phytonutrients. The more color variety, the better!

  5. Bring the kids!
    Farmers markets are kid-friendly.  Let your kids pick out something new to try. Then, let them help prepare a meal or choose a snack based on what caught their eye.  These cooking resources for kids can help, too. 

For more inspiration, check out our Top 10 Reasons to Shop at Farmers Markets. Happy shopping!

Joyce Hornick is a Dietetic Intern and Wendy Wasserman is Communications Specialist for USDA