Nine reasons to shop at your local farmers' market this summer

Cover image via Liv Cycling

By Cherie Russell

With the rise in the temperature, the demand for fresh, delicious produce is at an all time high. There is no better way to spend your weekend then strolling through the stalls at your local farmers’ market in the sun. If that isn’t appealing enough, here are nine great reasons to visit a farmers’ market this weekend.

1. Sustainable

Produce in large supermarkets often travels thousands of kilometres to reach the packing shelves, incurring excessive ‘food miles’ (the distance food travels between cultivator and seller) along the way. When buying produce from the farmers’ market, consumers are purchasing produce direct from the farmer, reducing the carbon footprint of their diets. Additionally, there is a lot less unrecyclable plastic and packaging covering your food than you are likely to find at the supermarket. Less petrol, less pollution, happier planet.

2.  Reduces waste

The produce that makes it to large supermarkets must meet a variety of cosmetic specifications, including not being too big, too small or too wonky. As a result, literal tonnes of food do not make it to shelves and is simply thrown away. At farmers’ markets, they don’t discriminate based on aesthetic appeal, resulting in less wasted food and more variety for consumers.

3. Better prices

Because produce at markets is sold directly by farmers, there are far fewer overheads than would be necessary to pack, transport, store and sell produce at a supermarket chain. Luckily for market-goers, this often results in lower prices, particularly for organic produce!

4. Better for farmers

Farmers’ markets are good for farmers! By shopping directly from stallholders, all profits go to those producing our food and goods, instead of a large cut being taken by the corporate middlemen - supermarkets.

5. Seasonal and fresh produce

As produce sold at farmers’ markets comes straight from farms, produce does not need to be frozen and thawed before being sold (as is often the case in supermarkets). Though this does sometimes limit fruits and veggies to those that are in season, this produce is picked to be as fresh as it possibly can be when it reaches consumers plates. Seasonal produce is less energy intensive to farm, is picked at its prime and tastes better than produce that has been frozen in order to be available year-round. The fresher the food, the tastier and more nutritious the meal.

6. Learning about where your food comes from

When buying food from the farmers who produce it, shoppers have the opportunity to ask questions about where it was grown, whether pesticides were used and when it was picked. Additionally, for those buying eggs, dairy and meat, consumers can learn more about the living conditions of the animals used to produce these goods so they can make ethical, informed choices about what they consume.

7. Huge variety

Not only do farmers’ markets sell fruit and veggies, there are many stalls that specialise in specific goods and ingredients to fulfil all your market needs! These include (but are not at all limited to): Honey, flowers, seedlings, bread, coffee, dog treats, eggs, hats and much, much more.

8. Supports your local community

Shopping at the farmers’ market supports local agriculture, farmers and their families, as well as stimulating the local economy by putting money back into the community.

9. Social and fun

Finally, outside of all these benefits, the farmers’ market is a great place to get involved in your community. They are often outside, which is perfect for summer, and are a great place to meet up friends and family. Most markets are even dog friendly, if you would like to take your pooch out for a walk with you.

So this Saturday or Sunday, make plans to meet up at the market. Grab some green bags, a reusable coffee cup and we will see you there!

You can find your local farmers market here.