What is a Farmers' Market?

Niki Foster

A farmers' market is a place or event at which local farmers sell their home-grown goods to the public. A farmers' market may be a regular daily, weekly, or monthly event, and most are held outdoors. In addition to produce, one many find such items as prepared foods, decorative plants, honey, homemade cheese and preserves, and handmade crafts at a farmers' market. Typically, each vendor at a farmer's market operates a stall or booth.

A farmers' market is a great place to stock up on local, in-season produce.
A farmers' market is a great place to stock up on local, in-season produce.

Shopping at a farmers' market offers many advantages to the consumer. Because the produce is grown locally, it is often fresher than what one may find at a supermarket. Heirloom produce and other unique food items may only be available at a farmers' market. Visiting a farmers' market in a city one is visiting as a tourist offers one the opportunity to experience local flavor and specialties. Prices are not necessarily higher or lower than those at the supermarket, but without a middleman, the consumer knows that all of his or her money is going to the farmer and supporting the local economy.

Flowers are often sold at a farmers' market.
Flowers are often sold at a farmers' market.

The farmers' market also has ecological benefits. Many of the food items offered there are grown organically or humanely, and the relatively short distance that vendors must travel to sell their goods cuts down on fuel use and air pollution. Buying produce that is not mass produced also supports biological diversity and sustainable farming practices.

Farmers' markets typically sell local produce.
Farmers' markets typically sell local produce.

Many towns have regular farmers' markets, even such urban centers as Hollywood, California and Manhattan, New York. By supplementing your weekly shopping by visiting a local farmers' market, you can both support your community and add some unusual items to your cupboard. Prepared foods are often available for lunch, and live entertainment is sometimes provided as well. Why not spend a fun afternoon at a farmers' market in your hometown or next time you go on vacation?

Customers may be able to find a wider variety of produce at the farmer's market than at a local grocery store.
Customers may be able to find a wider variety of produce at the farmer's market than at a local grocery store.
Farmers' markets are places where local farmers can sell their home-grown good to the public.
Farmers' markets are places where local farmers can sell their home-grown good to the public.
Customers may be able to discuss with growers what the best varieties of produce are for their diet.
Customers may be able to discuss with growers what the best varieties of produce are for their diet.

Discussion Comments

googie98

@calabama71: I’ve heard that same story. I also heard that there was a woman by the name of Blanche Magee and that she was one of the first to notice the farmers parked with their produce. She thought that they might want to have lunch, as well. Ms. Magee packed a picnic hamper full and started selling sandwiches. Today, there is still a Magee’s that serves food at different Farmers Markets.

More than 90% of stalls at Farmers Markets are independently owned and operated.

calabama71

It has been said that the first Farmers Market was created in July of 1934. Two men, Fred Beck and Roger Dahlhjelm, are the founders of the Farmers Market that we know. The story goes that there was a dairy farm at Gilmore Island and the two men asked if they could invite local farmers to park their trucks on the vacant Gilmore land and sell fresh produce.

There were a total of 18 farmers that responded to this opportunity to sell their produce. They paid 50 cents rent for the space they sold in. It was such a hit that permanent stalls were set up for the local farmers to sell their goods.

surreallife

If at all possible, buy locally grown fruit and vegetable. That way you will support your local farmers, but even more important than that, British researchers have discovered, that locally grown food does not get damaged by carbon dioxide emissions during transportation the way that foods that have been shipped from other areas do.

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