Why buy your produce from local farmers markets? Oh to count the reasons.
About a year ago, if you’d asked me if I buy organic produce, I would have scoffed at you, telling you how unnecessary it was. Veggies are veggies. Why would I pay a higher price for the exact same thing? Ah, but now I know better.
So I went to buying organic for the many reasons it is better-mainly because of the lack of chemicals and pesticides I’d be putting in my son’s mouth. Then I found an even better alternative: local farmers markets.
Here, not only are the ingredients organic, you KNOW where they came from, you are certain they are pesticide free, and you know you are getting the freshest ingredients. You can walk on the soil the produce was grown in, and sometimes even pick the produce yourself!
And here’s the best kicker of all: IT IS CHEAPER!! What?!?, you say? Why yes. Each time I’ve been to a farmers market, either I’ve checked or friends of mine have checked and their prices have been consistently lower than not only that of the organic produce in the grocery store, but yes-even the regular ole produce there as well.
On top of noticing that it is less expensive, the biggest reason I keep returning is the flavor. My goodness, the FLAVOR!! Once you take a bite of that fresh picked apple…trust me here, people. You will never go back to grocery store produce again! It’s what our veggies and fruits are supposed to taste like, but instead, to preserve them and keep them on a shelf longer, all the flavor has been sucked out of the stuff you buy at the store!
My great grandmother had the best garden in her backyard. I remember a banana tree, green beans (oh how I miss Mom Harper’s green beans), strawberries and so much more. It’s what I grew up with. Guess I kind of took for granted the difference in flavor. But I do remember getting used to grocery store produce, then eating a fresh from the ground cucumber and refused to ever eat grocery store cucumbers again. The flesh inside was so cool and refreshing, but even more important to me was the skin outside. It wasn’t waxy and bitter like the ones in the store. You didn’t have to cut it off to eat it. It was delicious. The same goes for the strawberries my mom used to grow in our backyard and the apples from my grandmother’s tree. I was lucky to have the experience of fresh home grown produce, but it got away from me as I grew up and our lives got more hectic. My backyard is the size of a matchbox so there’s no way I can have a full veggie garden to be able to taste that explosion of flavor again. But, alas…I can drive 5 minutes down the road and get farm fresh!
Each week (Saturday is my favorite day since The Veggie Lady , where I go to pick out produce, gets her produce from the markets on Friday) I take a trip with Jackson to her place, he gets a Sprite for a treat from her fridge, and we pick out the best produce for the week. I’m mentally planning my week’s menu on those days. Just for example, a few weeks ago I got tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapenos, strawberries, avacados, apples, corn, free range, grass fed chicken eggs and a spaghetti squash for only $25. That’s just one example of why I keep going back each week.
Funcoast.com’s Christy Seyler checks out her local farmer’s markets and gives a few ways your kids could join in the fun of the farmer’s markets.
She recommends that if you don’t have time to grow a garden, you can still eat locally and save money by going to the great local farmers’ markets in our area. We’re lucky here in Texas to have a great growing season just like she does in Ohio that allows us to grow all kinds of yummy fruits and vegetables. We’re also lucky to have lots of small farms in our area. They make their own honey, raise chickens for eggs and lots more.
Here’s what else she says in the article:
What are some of the benefits of shopping at farmers’ markets? Well, there are lots of them, including economic benefits and getting your kids to eat healthier. Also, it’s just plain fun.
Getting children to eat healthier is top of mind for most parents, but it’s not always easy to get them to eat those leafy greens. Taking your children to a local farmers’ market can make shopping for fruits and vegetables fun for them, and they might be more willing to eat them afterwards.
Invite your kids to pick out three or four items to buy. If you are going to a few markets in one day, maybe let them pick one or two at each. Make sure to set ground rules of what they can pick — I would limit picks to just fruits and vegetables (and maybe some honey and jam). Encourage them to ask questions about how the food is grown. They can also ask the farmers if they can touch and smell the
Lastly, invite your kids to help prepare the food they picked at the farmers’ market. They’ll be more willing to try a new food if they are involved in picking it and making it into something for the family to share.
The economic benefits of farmers’ markets really go to the whole community. Farmers’ markets put more money in the farmers’ pockets. Commercial farmers usually only get 25 cents of every dollar’s worth of produce sold in supermarkets; at local farmers’ markets, they get the whole dollar.
Buying locally also encourages regional farming. If farming were more widespread, we could save on fuel and the resources spent on long-distance shipping, and reduce our overdependence on a handful of growing regions that may not be able to produce high yields indefinitely. One of the most important benefits of buying local produce is that the money remains in the community and stimulates the local economy.
Here’s a list of farmers markets here in the Spring/Woodlands area. I really hope you take a trip one day with your kids and try it out! I promise you won’t regret it.
The Veggie Lady– she goes to the local markets each Friday and buys the best of the best at a wholesale price and brings it back to her market out of her house and sells it on the cheap. She is so helpful and will remember your name when you return! I love her.
25515 Glen Loch Drive
The Woodlands, TX 77380
Atkinson Farms- another great location that I love to go to!! Their pickled okra is TO DIE FOR!!
3217 Spring Cypress Rd, Spring, TX 77388
17045 Stuebner Airline Road, Spring, TX 77379
Theiss Farm Market (their other market location)
703 Sawdust Road, Spring, TX 77380
Neal’s Berry Farm & Farmer’s Market
24527 1/2 Gosling Road Spring, TX 77389
Also, here’s a list of ALL Houston markets, in case you don’t live
And if you don’t live in Texas, just search the United States
Department of Agriculture by zip code!
USDA Site: Market Search