If you are looking for the best tasting, freshest food around, you can check out the local farmer’s market for delicious, fresh-from-the-farm products produced right here in Arizona. This week, take a little time out of your schedule and go to Fill Your Plate and search for a farmers’ market near you. And, as we celebrate National Farmer’s Market Week you can help recognize the dedicated people who make continued access to this local food supply possible. When you buy locally grown produce and products from locally raised livestock and poultry, you show your support for the farms and ranches that provide them, you support continued access to this local resource, and you boost the Arizona economy while securing the freshest, best tasting food possible for your family. If that isn’t a win, win, win, I don’t know what is.
Here in Arizona we are lucky enough to have farmer’s markets and farm stands that provide fresh, locally grown products all year round. The week is the USDA’s National Farmer’s Market Week aimed at recognizing the critically important role farmers, ranchers, and direct to consumer agriculture options like farmers markets play in the national economy and food supply. You can do your part to protect this vital natural resource by visiting the farmer’s market in your area, purchasing products from a local farm stand, or requesting locally grown products from your local grocery store. As added incentive, here are 4 great reasons to support your farmers and ranchers this week, and every week.
Buying Local Keeps Farms Local
When you buy locally, you support the retail farms and ranches that sell directly to you and me and that operate in our great state and make it economically feasible for them to continue operating locally which in turn protects our access to a local food supply.
Buying Local is fun
Buying at a nearby farmer’s market becomes a community experience and is so much more relational when you actually get to meet and talk with the farmer that grew the food you’re about to purchase. Visits to the Farmers’ markets can become a family affair too. If you love to cook, you may discover a new recipe for a common vegetable and you might even discover a new product you’ve never eaten before.
Buying Local Means Fresh- Food
Farmers’ markets are another place to find fresh food. When the food on your plate was on the farm where it grew just a few days ago, you know it’s fresh. But make sure to ask the farmer when the produce was picked; even produce picked in California (where we get much of our produce in the summer) can be on our plates in a few days thanks to modern transportation.
Buying Local Can Save Money
While there are some things that will cost a little more at the farmer’s market, you will also find products that actually cost less because often the produce is in season therefore more abundant and more economical.
For the first time this year, Fill Your Plate’s Farmer’s Markets section is now searchable. You can search by county and city. This tool makes it easier to find a market near you. Regularly check on Fill Your Plate as information is regularly updated.
To make the best use of your time at the farmer’s market and ensure you have the best possible experience, follow these helpful tips.
- Come with Cash – Some vendors at the farmer’s market don’t accept debit or credit cards because of the costs imposed by the companies who process those transactions. Paying with cash helps decrease the cost of doing business for any farmer you purchase from and ensures they receive their money quickly and easily.
- Bring Your Own Bags – Another way to ensure you have the best possible experience is to bring your own bags. While some vendors will have bags you can use, not all provide this as part of their service and any bag you bring helps keep prices low by decreasing the cost of doing business for all the farmers and ranchers.
- Don’t Wait – If you want the best goods, get there early.