Farmer’s markets are yet A N O T H E R wonderful thing about summer. My kids and I love to take a weekly, leisurely stroll through the stalls of our local farmer’s market, which happens to be right across from where we live. Talk about convenience. Kids love to listen to some local musicians jamming to their own beat, look at all the beautiful pottery and paintings done by local artists and of course try a bite of something yummy! Like these fresh and delicious mini donuts!
Afterwards, we do our little shopping. I typically buy a couple pounds of fresh fruits and veggies for the fam. And maybe some baked goods. And some ice-cream…
So why shop at local farmer’s markets instead of good ol’ grocery store you might ask?
1. Produce is organic and NON-GMO
Many farms or farmers that bring their produce to the local markets grow their fruits and vegetables organically without the use of persistent pesticides, chemical fertilizers and modified seeds. Thus, better for your body and the environment.
2. Everything is in season
Farmer’s markets are the best way to find what’s actually in season since they will only sell what is. In spring and summer, you’ll usually find red berries, peaches, cucumbers and tomatoes. While in the fall, you’ll most likely find heartier, fibrous fruits and vegetables like apples, pears and squashes.
3. All produce is ripe and nutritious
Usually picked at the peak of their ripeness, the produce at local farmer’s markets will be ripe and more nutritious. Ripe fruits and vegetables contain more antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fats, therefore a lot more wholesome (also, don’t be afraid of a little blemish- real grown produce isn’t perfect).
4. You support local farmers and their farms
These farmers work endless hours, often in summer heat to care and grow delicious and nutritious produce for people like you, me and our families. They’re smart, educated and dedicate lots of time and love into what they’re doing, so why not show them a little love by shopping at your local farmer’s markets and farms! In the end, their work provides healthier food for your family.
How to shop on a budget?
If you’re like me, a frugal penny-pincher, you probably have a weekly budget for your groceries. And I’ll admit, farmer’s markets are not “less expensive” than the big grocery store chains. But remember, at farmers markets YOU GET WHAT YOU PAID FOR (in a good way)!
1. Plan ahead
When planning out your menu for the week, if you do so, think about what you can buy at the farmer’s market and what you need to buy at the grocery store. If you go to a farmer’s markets weekly, you’ll find it easier to buy produce consistently without it going bad or running out too soon.
2. Check all stalls prior to buying
At a typical farmer’s market you’ll find a couple or even a few different vendors from different farms. Take a look at all of the stalls before you buy anything. You might find that vendors vary in their prices and when you have taken a look at each on their produce, you’ll know who’s less expensive.
3. Buy local raw honey
Local raw honey is better for you. Full of antioxidants and healing benefits, but not only that, it also helps with allergies. As certified doctor, Dr. Axe said, “Many seasonal allergy sufferers have found local, raw honey to be helpful because it desensitizes them to the fauna triggering their allergic reaction.” Also, honey never expires! In addition to honey, it’s a good idea to buy your maple syrup as well- it’s local, lasts long and typically costs same as in a grocery store.
4. Join CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
This is a great way to buy seasonal produce, dairy or meat if you’re a consistent and dedicated buyer. When you sign up for the membership (essentially, a subscription), you’ll acquire a weekly basket of everything you’ve subscribed for that you can pick up at your convenience. I definitely recommend using the CSA program for your dairy; fresh dairy is the best!
I’ve linked a couple resources at the bottom of this post that you can use to help you find some awesome local farms!
Now, a little bit about our day at the McQuesten Farm! McQuesten Farm in Litchfield, NH is a family farm owned and operated since 1744. Can you believe the “1744″ part?! It’s an awesome, family-friendly place with many animals to look at and feed, as well a farm stand with lots of ready-for-you produce. They sell many beautiful plants and of course have pick-your-own beans, beets, carrots, peppers, strawberries and tomatoes available seasonally. Now that’s a BIG farm!
We went early morning before the heat kicked in. Always a good idea! As soon as we got to the fields, kids switched right into searching mode. Running around and peaking under the shrubs for those red and juicy treasures.
Of course they got all their clothes stained and they’re faces messy, but truly, I don’t mind messy…thus my blog name 🙂 Messy is part of childhood and I don’t mind it one bit. At least the kids had fun and remembered the day; everything else can get cleaned up!
After picking a few pounds of strawberries, we headed over to look at the animals. Kids pat them, fed them and giggled at their funny noises (I think for me it’s more amusing to observe my kids interact with animals rather than anything else…aren’t kids + animals = precious?)
Tired and messy, we headed home to make something “strawberry”. And because my kitchen is dark as a dungeon, I didn’t bother taking any pictures of my kids whisking and stirring away. But we made a brownie with strawberries on top! Brownie recipe from Cafe Delights, so yummy!
Why do you like farmer’s markets? What’s your favorite items to get?
Find grass-fed meat and dairy HERE!
Find you local farmer’s markets HERE!