Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Guest Post: Top 5 Reasons I Love the Farmer's Market

Top 5 Reasons I love the Farmer's Market:

1) Better Quality - By far, my most favorite thing about the farmer's market is the quality of the items available! When selling face-to-face, producers want to put their best products before you, so that you'll remember their items and come back, time after time. Most often, farmers only supply the best at the markets, and you can take your pick of their selection! Not to mention, their direct competition is just one table down, so everyone is competing for your business - meaning they put out the best! Since these farmers grow it, pick it, can it, bake it, etc themselves, you're more likely to find items FRESH and with less preservatives in them (for items like jelly, pies, etc). Because they don't have to worry about a long shelf life, these products can be picked at 5am, at the peak of their ripeness, and sold to you just hours later, to be served on your table in less amount time than it would take for a delivery truck to have it on the shelves of a Walmart! Looking for all-natural or organic products? Ask around, you're bound to find plenty of items available at the farmer's market!

2) Lower Prices - Cutting out the middle man means cutting the cost, and competing in friendly, close quarters means that the prices are not only competitive as well, but are "honest". You're more likely to find a much better cost per item, per pound, per bushel, etc at a farmer's market because of the direct sales relationship (farmer to you, instead of farmer to Walmart to you), but also because there aren't "additional fees" to factor in - no sales tax, prices rounded to a whole amount, etc. Of course, the face-to-face factor also plays in, and at some locations, you might have the ability to haggle a bit :)

3) More Selection - Another one of my favorite things about the farmer's market is the selection!! Not only can you find a wide variety of in-season produce, baked goods, canned/jarred goods, etc, but you can also find a vast selection of the same items from table to table (booth to booth, etc). So, if you're not crazy about the summer squash that Farmer A is offering, just walk a few feet to check out Farmer B's. If you're a regular, you'll eventually find which farmer's produce the "best" of each item. For example, at our market, all of the corn offered is good, but there is just something extra great about the corn that one farmer has to offer, so we only buy from him (plus, he's funny, and always supplies a bit of entertainment). Ultimately, this leads back to better quality and lower prices, too!

4) Supports Local Economy - I don't think I need to elaborate much on this one :). Obviously, buying from local farmers supports the local economy, stimulating your own area's financial well being. So many of these local farmers also support the local economy to support their farms, so the cycle continues. This process is best not only financially, but also for the environment!

5) Great Atmosphere - I love the atmosphere, the community, that takes place at local farmer's markets! The farmers (and others) interacting directly with their consumers, the Amish bakers (at least here), the local vendors (mmm, I can smell the gyros now), the local bands playing, and all the members of the community shopping around in perfect harmony! I just love it!!

So, look around, see if there is a farmer's market in your area! Ours runs every Thursday through the summer and fall months, in the square, downtown Wilkes Barre, PA. If you're ever headed down there, let me know and I'll be happy to chat over a bag of fresh cherries & some freshly squeezed lemonade :).

Alecia Blogs over at Savings & Stewardship, she has a thrifty family of four who love stretching dollars. They feel it is their duty to be good stewards of the blessings the Lord has given them. They hope you will join them in these endeavors. They are looking forward to "stewarding" with you soon!

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