7 Reasons to Buy From Your City Farmer’s Market.

Wake up and smell the mixed bouquet of dahlias and pom pom mums!   It’s time to start thinking about breaking up with your grocery store.  

Benefits of shopping locally.

Nowadays your best choice for fresh food is the farmer’s market. Nothing good ever came from someone rolling a cart down an ice cream aisle.  Hold on. Let me rethink that sentence.  I’d actually like to take that sentence back because mostly very good things come from rolling a card down an ice cream aisle. And it’s the first place everyone goes when they break up with ANYONE or anything, so this might be a problem.  Lemme get back to you on that one.

The absolute, bonafide, 100% truth is you probably can’t ditch your grocery store entirely.  I mean seriously, where else would we buy those hamster sized variety packs of cereal to take to the cottage?

But you should think about shunning the produce aisle at the very least, especially during the summer and fall months.  Push that wobbly wheeled cart off to the side and hoof it to your local farmer’s market.  

Just because you don’t live in the country doesn’t mean you don’t have access to farmer fresh produce. Most huge cities host farmers markets along with small towns and everything in between.

The things you’ll find there will do more for your health and well being than going for a 5 km run.

This is not necessarily a scientifically proven fact, just something I, a person who hates running, likes to believe.  Here’s a story about my crossfit experience if you’re interested.  It was a shitshow.

I’m lucky that my farmer’s market is still up and running. This past year has seen a lot of them shut down because of Coronavirus fears. So how was ours allowed to open? Especially in the supremely Coronaconscious Canada?

A lot of work.

The market manager, downtown business association members and farmers had to get together and convince the provincial government that it was something that could be done safely. Protocols were put in place, rules adhered to and the market is up and running with everything from local meat to vegetables and flowers.

Now more than ever your local farmers need your business. Search them out even if you don’t have a local farmer’s market to support them in what is an incredibly difficult year.

Why should you shop at your farmer’s market as opposed to the grocery store?  I’ll give you 6 good reasons.

6 REASONS TO SHOP AT YOUR FARMER’S MARKET

1.  You get to know your farmer and therefore your food.
 
Benefits of shopping locally.

 

This is Murray.  He’s one of my local farmers.  Murray is a heritage pig and chicken farmer who also grows produce.  He raises the pigs for meat and the chickens for eggs.  He carries all pork products imaginable from pork belly to sausages to chops and lard.  I’ve had them all.  His pigs are pasture raised, aren’t fed any corn and are butchered locally.  I know where the pigs live, I know how they live, and I know what he feeds them and how he treats them.  I didn’t even like pork before I met farmer Murray.  Now I do. Plus he has a pretty cool looking weirdo heirloom squash there.

Knowing the provenance of your market food will make you more aware of all your food choices.

Why you should shop at farmer's markets.

 

2. Farmer’s Markets promote socializing and community.

The whole socialization part is what made everyone nervous about opening the markets.  These photos are from a couple of years ago in the olden days when people could stand closer than 6′ together.
 
Why you should shop at farmer's markets.

Here’s me at the grocery store:  *I hate you, I hate everyone, I hate this aisle, I hate fluorescent lighting, I hate gum, I hate my shoes, I hate everything*

Here’s me at the Farmer’s Market:  *I love you, I love everyone, I love this stall, I love the sun, I love gum, I don’t care that I hate my shoes, I love everything!*

See the difference?  If you don’t, you might need to make a quick run to the local psychologist’s office.

Shopping at a Farmer’s Market is a way better experience.  Just look at how much fun these people are having. You’d swear they were on drugs, but they aren’t (as far as I know). They’re on a 100% natural, market high.  At an outdoor market you’re happy to run into people and chat (as opposed to ducking down the nearest aisle).  You’re getting vitamin D, eating apples (my market’s apple farmer give away apples), listening to music and generally enjoying the entire event.  

Because shopping at a Farmer’s Market is a communal event. It’s something everyone happily does together, as opposed to shopping in a grocery store which has become like the elevator of shopping experiences.  We go in, we ignore everyone around us, we get out.

Psychologically a Farmer’s Market has all the ingredients for boosting not only our health but our mood.
 
Why you should shop at farmer's markets.

O.K. seriously though. Touching, kissing, NO masks. 2017 was a CRAZY year.

3.  Supports your local economy.
 
Why you should shop at farmer's markets.

Support your local economy!  The phrase sounds good and all “I eat quinoa-ish” but what does it really mean?  What does shopping locally actually accomplish?  For one thing you monetarily support people you know and care about in your community.  Without you buying from them, they’d have to close up shop and clean houses for a living.  

Unless their actual business is cleaning houses, in which case they’d have to close up shop and not clean houses for a living.

Of every dollar you spend locally, over 60 cents of it stays within your community.

Your town, city or neighbourhood is a little ecosystem; you need to feed it, nurture it and take care of it to keep it alive.
 
Why you should shop at farmer's markets.

 

4.  Freshhhhhh.
 
Why you should shop at farmer's markets.

The produce or flowers you pick up at your local farmer’s market were likely picked only hours before you bought them.  Unlike a grocery store which carries tomatoes that were probably picked … who knows when.  On average produce travels 1,500 miles before it makes it to your grocery store.  That’s a lotta miles and a lot of handling.  That travelling California strawberry has had the potential to pick up a lot of hitchikers along the way.

The fresher the produce, the better it tastes.

Farmer’s markets are also your freshest option for flowers.  PLUS local farm flowers are just prettier than grocery store flowers.

Flowers are scientifically proven (this time for real) to elevate your mood and relieve anxiety.
 
Why you should shop at farmer's markets.

5.  Cheaper!  
 
Plan B Organics

If your goal is to buy organic, the Farmer’s Markets are going to be your cheaper option. There’s no middleman, no marketing guru to pay and no transportation costs.

By the way, talk to your farmer!  (This is where the whole know your farmer thing comes in handy)  Their farm may not be “certified organic”, which requires a lot of money and paperwork, but they may indeed be as organic as any certified farm. They just don’t have the paperwork.

The more people that buy organic the cheaper it will become but it will always be more expensive than non organic because so much more work is involved in growing organic food.

6.  Variety!
 
market apples

My favourite variety of apple can only be bought at a Farmer’s Market.  Why?  Because they don’t travel well and grocery stores don’t want to carry foods that don’t travel well even if they tastes more delicious than anything else in the world.  

The Golden Gala apple can only be found at the market.  Search it out.  It’s like a Royal Gala but golden.  Sadly this picture of my market apples isn’t showcasing the Golden Gala because they were sold out because they are SO good.

The Farmer’s Market is the perfect place to get varieties of vegetables or fruits that you cannot, under any circumstances get in any grocery store.  Golden Gala apples, Grey Ghost squash, Linzer Delikatess and Pink Fir Apple potatoes.

Other than a few heirloom tomatoes, you won’t find a supply of heirlooms in the grocery store.  Why does that matter?

Heirloom vegetables offer more taste, more textures and more colours. And that makes for more of a meal.

heirloom potato varieties

7. HOW many people touched that?

Less people have touched your food at the Farmer’s market.  In fact, it’s entirely possible that the only person to have touched it was the farmer.

Let’s just say more people have touched your food at the grocery store.  A lot more. 

Market 2

 

As an added bonus here’s another reason to take in a Farmer’s market.  They’re dog friendly.

cute dog

Think maybe a roadside stand is a good option for your produce?  Usually they are. I have a friend who has a great roadside stand where he sells beautiful organic lettuces.  

But sometimes those roadside stands are just posing as farmers.  They buy their produce wholesale, put on a pair of muddy boots and set up shop on a country road.   Seriously.  So vet them before you buy from them. Just ask a few questions about where the food came from and if they grew it. Maybe a couple of follow up questions about variety or where their farm is.

My town’s farmer’s market has a vetting process where everyone who is part of the market must allow the manager access to their farm to look around and approve it. 

This ensures that the farmers are actual farmers.

market manager stephanie

Not all farmer’s markets work the same way so if you’re unsure about the produce, do like I told you to do with the roadside stand. Ask questions. Probe. Be a pest. If they’re an actual farmer they’ll be more than happy to talk to you for weeks on end about the perils of the Colorado Potato Beetle.

Now back to that ice cream aisle problem.  It just occurred to me that you probably can skip it as well.  Farmer’s markets have ice cream too.

Rudy's paletas

In this case it’s an all natural, vegan Pumpkin Maple Paleta from Rudy’s.

3 of which are sitting in my freezer right now, just waiting for me to break up with someone or something.

 
 

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

 

7 Reasons to Buy From Your City Farmer\'s Market.

78 Comments

  1. Jane says:

    Pre-pandemic, I shopped every Sat at the farmer’s market. Hardly ever looked at produce in a grocery store, even in winter. And for years, my local CSA even got me to try new things. Those were good days! My CSA up and decided to retire last fall, and the farmer’s market was closed. I had to start buying eggs and produce from stores. Horror! Now the market has reopened, but isn’t quite the same. At most only half of the vendors are there, masks and social distancing required, prices are up, quality and variety are down. Grocery stores now sell produce from local farmers as well. One thing, though, is still true at the market: freshness! Nothing beats how much fresher produce is at the market.

  2. Julie Anne says:

    Best shopping spot for the best food. My local Farmer’s Market had to implement some new rules to adapt to our new normal. One way lines, requests of one person per family and not stopping to visit. Once you learn the pattern, it’s not too hard and absolutely worth it.

  3. Wendy Heath says:

    Karen! I love you and all you do.
    I also love my farmer’s markets. I’m in Victoria BC and I have 2 Saturday farmer’s markets within a short bicycle distance from where I live. I’m pushing 70 and I’m a life-long bicycle rider so when my creaky old arthritis knee made hills too hard, I got a (fabulous!) ebike last October and now I can say “what hills? no problem!”. At the markets everyone lines up, apart, so no more cruising in the crowd to compare all the stalls offerings but at least they are open. I do car cruise up Saanich to some of the bigger farms and buy direct every week or so.
    One thing, Karen. Here I have not seen one single plastic bag at a market. Markets here don’t have bags to give out. The odd one at a farm but mostly not. People bring their own bags or take produce home in boxes which are reused over and over. You have one picture in this post with a woman holding 3 plastic bags with the market logo on them no less, each of them having nearly nothing in them. Why? Why? I could put all that stuff in one of my medium cloth bags.
    With all the wonderful advice you give in this post, please please put in something that acknowledges the wisdom of using your own reusable bags. This precious and only planet we have is literally being smothered with the toxins released as plastic (extremely slowly) decomposes with the biggest risk being micro plastics that occur when plastic breaks up into smaller and smaller pieces to be ingested by animals that mistakenly view it as food. So small that we are breathing micro plastics now with every breath.
    Now I’m going to go out and pick more Maxibel filet green beans to give to a couple of friends. This year, it’s like having zucchini there are so many! xoxo

  4. J Witherell says:

    Ahhh, the old days of last year…
    One of our largest Farmer’s Markets is a close walk from my home but it is kind a shit show regarding social distancing etc, so I haven’t gone to it this summer. There is a wonderful Farm Stand out in the country at the end of the property of an actual farm that I adore though! Pumpkins, veggies, berries, and they are wonderful people to do business with. I also buy my beef from a local farmer who encourages you to check out his farm – best beef I have ever tasted! (just put in an early fall order) There is a new micro greens vender here this summer and of course lots of “side of the road” guys too, who actually are local. Now if I could just find a local pig and chicken farmer I’d be good to go!

    • Loquin says:

      Lol reading this just as we’re going home from the farmer’s market! However, I embarrassed myself and another lady big time by muttering evilly when she cut in front of me for eggplants – and she heard me!!! I mean, I wasn’t technically wrong, but I could have been a lot nicer about it. I was mortified! Lol

  5. Michelle says:

    I live in a small town in New England that rarely has “organic” offerings as the small growers say it is just not worth the bureaucracy to get certified. So they offer locally grown produce but the prices are much higher than what you would pay at the grocery store. I asked a few growers and they said it wouldn’t cover their costs if prices were lower. When I grew up, farmer’s markets were cheaper because there was no middleman. I’m not sure that holds today.

  6. Christine says:

    I was at the Burlington Market this morning.There are an alarming rate of non growers selling.One of my favorite growers taught me to look at the truck license plates.Rhe real deal has a farm plate.

    • margaret says:

      Not to mention how much of the stuff at most ‘markets’ nowadays has nothing to do with food…

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      Hi Christine, I’m old enough to remember going with my mum to the outdoor market behind Eatons in downtown Hamilton. She taught me way back then to check for “farm” license plates (and I still do!) to avoid buying from “hucksters”. Thanks for my warm fuzzy flashback and thanks Mum!

  7. Vikki says:

    I read this with sadness and longing. Ahhh.. the good ol’ days. Will they ever come again?

  8. PMK says:

    Another reason for me to love my local farmers’ market. I got a phone call from one of my favourite vendors on Monday pointing out that I had not placed an order for a turkey. Talk about panic. I have company coming! She said not to worry, she had already grown one for me. It will be somewhere around 15 lbs and I can pick it up on Saturday (the last market day here till spring) and it will be fresh, never frozen since they were still running around the yard when she called me. Can’t get this kind of thoughtfulness in a chain store. I’m definitely thankful for farmers’ markets.

  9. Liz says:

    As a parent of the child who’s mowing down on the ice cream, I can vouch that it was delicious (she had to share – part of the deal!). It’s nice knowing that our kiddo is developing some sense of what’s in season when. Of course, ice cream is always in season.

  10. Lobo says:

    Have you seen this past Fridays Marketplace on CBC?

    http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/episodes/2017-2018/farm-fresh

    • Karen says:

      I didn’t watch it, but I’ve read the article about it. My guess is that’s more of a problem at larger “farmers'” markets. Like I mentioned, mine, which is smaller vets and visits the farms of all of the vendors. But the Marketplace thing is something I’ve noticed at pop up road stalls. ~ karen!

      • Lobo says:

        It’s a real shame. Giving hard working farmers a bad name. I do hope it’s isolated and will be eliminated now that it’s brought to light.

  11. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Yup!…nothing better than fresh produce…I crave it all Winter long!

  12. Shelley says:

    As always, your writing makes me laugh and smile! But I gotta know, the lady with the beautiful, shiny auburn hair – WHAT does she use to make those curls look so soft?? I honestly reached out to my computer screen to touch them!

    • Karen says:

      Ha ha! Well that’s funny. That would be Noelle who owns the local curly hair salon, lol! She’s been a longtime advertiser on The Art of Doing Stuff and I happened to run into her at the market. Her shop is Ellenoire and she takes Internet orders. https://ellenoire.com/collections/devacurl-products I’ve taken the liberty of linking to the curly hair products she uses in her store/salon. :) ~ karen!

  13. Catherine says:

    Ottawa has mobile fruit and vegetable buses/trailers that bring the produce to the neighbourhoods that need them. http://www.marketmobileottawa.ca/photos

  14. Kristina says:

    The strawberry stand up the road (we’ve got a million of mom & pop stands here in N California) has morphed into a regular farmstand, and I’m always amazed by the interesting fresh produce there. The owners are SE Asian, and they grow tons of stuff this ginger has never seen. I have a great time discussing with the proprietor how to prepare veggies I’ve never cooked before. My favorite bit of advice: “I know that *looks* like a cucumber, but it is a very, very hot radish.” Ha. (Also, are “food deserts” a problem in Canadian cities? We have a problem with neighborhoods here in the US that don’t have anywhere but a mini-mart to shop for food. They are understandably lacking in produce.)

    • Karen says:

      I’ve been in those sorts of areas in Quebec but there are grocery stores within driving distance. This particular area I’m thinking of doesn’t really produce people who eat vegetables anyway. Possibly because they’ve never been available, lol. Nope. Literally meat and potatoes. I’ve never heard the term vegetable desert before though and I’m not sure if it’s actually a thing in Canada or not! ~ karen

  15. Amy in StL says:

    I wish I had the time to go to the local farmers’ markets. Since they’re all held in parking areas, the street parking fills up very fast which means spending considerable time searching for a spot and walking to the lot. Then trying to find what I’m looking for and who has it among the crowded throngs of people after a busy workday and I’d rather just spend 20 minutes at the grocery picking up what I need and spend the rest of my evening at my house instead of fighting for space with strangers.

  16. Rebecca Hengen says:

    My local farmer’s market has a small amount of locally grown stuff sold by the person that grew it , and also sellers who go to a produce wholesaler and buy large quantities to resell. I wish we could have a local market that sells only stuff from the grower, but that is not the case so I roll with what I have. What I recently found is a small family owned local produce company that sells in the market. They do not grow their products but drive four hours one way to a wholesaler every Monday. They buy large quantities of produce that is in season and/or a good price. They then post what is available online. You get a box of 25 pounds of produce for $25. You choose the items you want and the pounds of each that you wish to get and post your order online. Then on Tuesdays you pick up your box of produce at the market. They also have additional veggies and fruits for sale at their stall in the market. So while I’m not getting locally grown produce, I am getting a good price, supporting a local small business owner and eliminating any wasteful packaging. I can return my made for produce cardboard box for them to use again, thus not even have to recycle it. It is a win-win situation!

  17. Mel says:

    Is it just me or does Murray do some moonlighting as Russell Crowe??

  18. Mary W says:

    Just opened my laptop to read your blog – ready for bed but had to check in. I’m just out of the shower and really sleepy – just as I saw the picture of the fresh apples (we can’t really grow them in FL) the AC cut on and the cool air and sight of crispy fresh apples – I swear I could smell them. Then I saw those amazing brown eggs which we do have in FL just not in my kitchen – not allowed to have chickens in my neighborhood. Next came the gorgeous batches of strawberries – normal, red, probably tasty and sweet. The grocery sells giant, tasteless, beginning to rot inside (but still looking good outside) strawberries I just can’t force myself to buy. The local ones were done growing in May. I MUST go to my farmer’s market this Saturday. Thanks for the encouragement and kick in the butt. Last time I went, I bought an expensive peach tree that fed the deer for almost a week. So, I think I will buy some peaches Saturday!

  19. Tristan Jayne Bell Knowlton says:

    LOVE love!! And the first image.. Thank you ! xx

  20. Elaine says:

    Yes, I should have done that, Karen! I will do it tomorrow. Before I moved here (from another small town) and after my husband passed away, there was a farmer who had the best corn ever and “yes”, no cooking was necessary!

  21. Elaine says:

    Like you, Karen, I love going to a farmers’ market and shop regularly every Thursday. I keep my eye out for you but no luck, so far!! I will go again tomorrow but have to admit, I’ve been kind of ticked off the last two weeks! I wasted about $20. Why? I normally visit a booth that sells corn (south end of the lot) but they were sold out so I tried another stall. I asked if it was tender and assured it was; it wasn’t! Tossed it out. I also bought peaches the last two weeks at two different stalls. At both, I asked each vendor if the peaches were still juicy (and not dry and “mealy”) and was assured they were. They weren’t! So they were also tossed. However, as said, I’ll be there tomorrow as the majority of their produce is great. (I think it’s just too late in the season for juicy peaches). In spite of wasting approximately $20, I STILL look forward to our Thursday market day!

    • Karen says:

      Ask for a taste or sample Elaine! The apple farmers are GREAT. They’re constantly handing out samples of their cider or giving out whole apples to see which one you like best. They’re really good for that. And if corn is fresh, you can eat it right off the cob without even cooking it. So if you taste it raw off the cob you’ll know right away if it’s going to be good or going to be gross. ~ karen!

  22. Alena says:

    I am pretty sure the correct spelling is farmers’ market, not farmer’s market (as we talking about multiple farmers as opposed to a single one).

    I go to my local FM on most Saturdays although I can’t say I get any vitamin D – I am there when some of the vendors are still setting up, at 6 a.m. The reasons are

    1. I hate the zoo the covered parking lot becomes later on;
    2. There is only a limited amount of almond croissants at that vendor that carries them
    3. I buy spinach from one specific farmer only and its supply is also limited.

    The most important produce (to me) is the spinach. I was eating an indecently large amount of raw spinach (on my egg omelette) as I watched today’s Marilyn Dennis who had a nutriotionist on the show today demonstrating 3 recipes for people that don’t eat spinach, cilantro and mushroom (I love all three).
    Some of the vendors on the market are real farmers (like the spinach dude from whom I also buy most of my veg) but a lot of them are just distributors selling the same stuff one can get at a grocery stores (i.e. fruit or veggies in the plastic cartons, with the same label as at a store). What really turns me off is to see many of them open up each pint sized clam shell, root for the rotting pieces, throw them out and then put the clam shell pack back on the counter. There is a reason why one can get a pint of raspberries for $1.50 – so exercise caution.

    As I said, the main reason I go to the market is the spinach which is unbelievably fresh and lasts 2 weeks in the fridge with no problem (unlike the bag in the store that start wilting the moment the bas has been opened). Each week, I buy 2 (fairly large) bags of spinach for $3 each. The sad moment is the end of the spinach growing season (usually early December, depending on weather) when I have to live on grocery store spinach until May or so.

  23. Marlene Eastman says:

    I love going to our little market Saturday mornings!! Best fresh food ever!! And it lasts so much longer than the store bought stuff. My local farmer I buy lettuce from, last me almost 2 weeks!! The store stuff, I’m lucky if it last a few days. And tastes so much better!!
    I also ran into my favourite blogger (that’s you!!), when I went to an town close by for a Thursday afternoon visit, since I wasn’t going to be home for my normal Saturday visit. I also got to know my local farmers for buying fresh eggs all year round. Nothing like cracking an egg and seeing that deep yellow/orange yolk!! Yeah for local farmers!! I grew up on a farm, so I know all the hard work, long hours and weathers issues that it takes to make money. Farmers rock!!!

  24. Carolyn Boyd says:

    We are very lucky to have a terrific farmer’s market in the small town in Nova Scotia where I live. Last year they even committed to staying open all winter, as they are now located in our old (historic) fire station. We also are lucky to have farmers in our family who raise heritage pigs, plus beef, sheep, chickens for meat and eggs, and turkeys – all free range and mostly grass-fed. Almost everything is available except for fluid milk. Lucky indeed!!

  25. Julie says:

    You need to stay away from that couple in the 3rd picture! LOL!

    We have a nice farmer’s market where I am in Toronto but there’s just something about a more rural setting that makes it way more divine!

  26. Pattie Meyers says:

    Really love this blog, Karen. I’m lousy at growing my own food (good at raising laying hens) but I really care about supporting farmer’s markets. So important for our local economy and our bellies. Writer Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle breaks down the costs and benefits of local food in a very entertaining way. Page 304 and thereabouts

    • TucsonPatty says:

      I loved that book! Gets my recommendation, too. I was so sad when they moved away from Tucson. I think I have read every single book she has written.

  27. Gina says:

    Karen I subscribed to your blog because you are outrageously funny! Fresh and positive. Love it!
    I live in Portugal (I’m Portuguese raised in the states) and markets are FANTASTIC, cheap and a great way to support your local economy.
    Keep it up…

  28. Erin says:

    THANK YOU, Karen.
    This is my second season selling veggies at our local Farmer’s Market. This post and these comments are perfectly timed to boost my morale after a somewhat *challenging* growing season.

    From my side of the table:
    1.) Yes- talk to your farmer! I love getting to know my customers and am very pleased to share about our growing practices. Farmers can be a great resource for cooking ideas – and I’ve learned a few great recipes from my customers, as well. I also want to know what people are looking for (golden beets, striped eggplant) and that helps me plan for the next season. True “market research.”

    2.) It is a blast to see folks at the market run into old friends they haven’t seen in “ages.”

    3.) As a vendor, I shop my market and support the other vendors. And the local ice cream shop.

    4.) Freshest around. You can’t buy what I sell at any grocery store. My produce was picked less than 24hrs before being brought to market. I grow varieties that taste delicious, and they keep exceptionally well because of that freshness.

    5.) I keep my prices in line with Canadian organic prices for our region. I do however, expect to be paid fairly for my work. I am happy to explain my pricing, but don’t insult me by trying to haggle over a couple of dollars. (I see that $4 latte in your other hand :) )

    6.) Having unusual varieties has been a great way to set our veggie stand apart from the grocery store, and even other veg vendors at the market. Purple orach, Boothby blonde cucumbers, and calliope eggplants are great conversation starters. Don’t be afraid to ask a vendor about some weird thing they are selling – and don’t feel like you are committed to buying it just by asking!

    A heartfelt thanks to all you market shoppers and CSA supporters out there. Your shopping decisions really make a difference.

  29. Murray looks exactly like Russell Crowe.

    • Elaine says:

      That was my first thought too! 💕

    • Bunguin says:

      You beat me. When I first saw the pictures, I was like, did Karen Photoshop Russel Crowe into that picture for some funny reason? Then I though, does Russel Crowe grow veggies for the farmer’s market in canada? Then I realized that Murray could do celebrity impersonation appearances as Russel Crowe.

  30. linda in illinois says:

    Your crossfit story, I could never in a million years beat myself up like that.. wow… and is this the boyfriend that hurt you so badly you stayed under your bed for months?? He deserves to be bitch slapped and I’d be happy to do it for you.
    Meanwhile, I love the farmers market. I wish they were open all year long.

  31. Sondra says:

    Here’s another great idea. Bear with me here. I live in Maine. We have lots of farmers of all kinds in Maine scattered around the state. We have Farmer’s Markets in Maine on certain days of the week in select areas. Sometimes hard to remember the days of the week to get there but a new option has appeared.

    What we did NOT have until last summer was local farmer’s produce being sold in our local large chain markets. WE DO NOW! I talked with the Produce Manager about how they pay our farmers. Exactly like they do flown in and trucked in produce, so all produce in the store is the same price. You might be able to buy from a local Farmer’s Market for less but if you can’t get to one on the right day of the week then this is another option. We now can support our LOCAL farmers and buy the most glorious produce all summer long for the same prices as the shipped in bland stuff right in our markets on any day of the week. Convince your local grocery store chains to do the same thing. Shop locally and also shop the Farmer’s at their outdoor markets but begin shopping the finest produce you can for your families.

    Win, win for everyone!

  32. Susan says:

    For those on budgets who have to consider market shopping a “treat” think about CSA or Community Sustainable Agriculture. You get a bin full of locally grown, organic, seasonable veggies, sometimes eggs and sometimes meat, once a week or less, depending on the farmer. I so agree with Karen that you should know where your food comes from. On Saturday night I went to a bonfire at the home of a farmer who sells his pork at the market. His pigs were out in the field, some were down the street in a garden as entertainment at a B & B. The next day I went out on a fishing boat, and cruising near the Confederation Bridge, I asked what the tall silo was in the distance. It’s rare to see anything of any height in PEI. Apparently it’s the water tank of a factory pig farm. The pigs are kept confined in cramped quarters, poop through a grate in the floor and the liquid manure is pumped into a holding tank. I’m not a bleeding heart but I know which pig I’d rather eat. The end result is the same but at least the farmer’s pigs enjoy life until they go to market. And the taste! I think we’ve forgotten what real meat tastes like.

    • Erin says:

      Yes, Susan –
      CSA is a great way to get a lot of fresh produce for a very reasonable price. Some farmers are now providing more flexibility in paying for your share, and choosing what veggies are included or excluded depending on your preference. By signing up early in the year (February or March) you can often get an earlybird discount.

      • susan says:

        There is an organic farm up the road from me and they are so flexible that you just order when you feel like it and pay for what you order. For $25 a week you can get fresh veggies all summer, free range eggs, or a meat selection. In the winter they have their own stone ground wheat, pancake mix or even fresh bread. Supermarket salad mix or lettuce goes slimy in days but I’ve eaten CSA lettuce mix two weeks after receiving it.

  33. Marilyn says:

    I totally agree with every point you have made here and I do support my local farmers market …the palettas are to die for however I do feel that one of the main reasons some people don’t shop at their local farmers markets is cost driven …I’m not complaining or saying the costs are too high but when you are trying to raise children and both parents are working and buying groceries and paying for sports etc the budget is stretched so much further when you can buy two quarts of strawberries for 5.00 instead of one . Another case in point is corn..our grocery store gets their corn from a local farmer and it sells for 5/2.00. I paid 6/4.00 at the market. Also peaches at our local grocery store are 3.99 and they too are from niagara.I will always try and support my local market as I do love their products and it is a feel good place but I just wanted to point out that although lots of people would love to they cannot afford to, it’s tough to feed your family a well balanced diet of fresh healthy food this days ..unfortunately .The flip side of this is seniors on a reduced income ..they simply cannot afford to pay higher prices. I wish everyone could shop locally all the time..the perfect world.

    • Sue says:

      I’m so in agreement with everything you’ve written, Marilyn. I live in Vermont where people are still tied to the land. Both agriculture & tourism are top “industries”, here. Farmer’s Markets are very well advertised by tourism boards. Parents raising young kids and/or the seniors on a fixed income are exempt as they can’t afford. It’s really kind of sad, here.

      • Karen says:

        I understand what you’re saying Sue, but in defence of this particular market, that isn’t so much the case. It isn’t an inflated prices, tourism market. It’s a regular market with local farmers and local shoppers. As you can see on the price board I showed, the prices are similar to a grocery store and definitely cheaper than a grocery store for organic produce. Food in general is expensive but as someone who grows their own food I can say I’m usually surprised that food doesn’t cost more, lol. An insane amount of work, planning and luck are involved in it. I’m not sure what the solution is. ~ karen!

        • TucsonPatty says:

          Yeah, here is that daughter of the Kansas wheat farmer, again. It is a gamble, always, growing things, and it never brings the price it should, I don’t think. Los of prices will be going up in the grocery store very soon, I’m sure, with all the crops lost with the hurricanes. My dad had a sign in our dining room on the farm – “Don’t complain about the price of groceries with your mouth full!” True words.

  34. Pauline says:

    Karen!!!! I LOVED this post, these are all the same reasons that I never miss my Saturday morning market. My friends all think I’m a crazy person when I talk about it, but I DON’T CARE! I love my local farmers and I’d much rather give them my money than any grocery store, I always shop local when I can.
    Thank you for this awesome post!

  35. Katie C. says:

    I looooove farmer’s markets! Unfortunately, they’re rarely open when I’m not at work and weekend markets are usually a zoo.

    However, we have so many local creameries that it’s pretty much guaranteed that there will be ice cream.

  36. NinaMargo says:

    Karen, truly sweet post! Who needs a reason to savor a Pumpkin Maple Paleta? Sounds like something that wouldn’t even make it home…

  37. Lisa says:

    The farmers markets in the Chicago area are mostly distributors, and I wish they were vetted. They have double or triple booths and sell everything, like bananas, avocados, pineapple, etc. We do have some local farms, but I wish we had more.

  38. Monica says:

    You’re lucky to have such a good one. Mine sucks hard. It’s waaaayyyy more expensive than the grocery store and the stalls pretty much all sell the same produce in the same varieties. So it’s not much to choose from and price gouging when you do find something good. :(

    • Pat says:

      Monica is right. Our local Farmers’ market is soooo expensive. I go to the Farmers’ market only when I have company in town as something to do (I’ll admit it’s spectacular, but only if you roll up in a Porche I guess). I spent $80 the last time I was there (in 2016) and was mad when I spread my purchases out on the kitchen counter. I asked my visiting sister if we accidentally left some bags in the car! Nope. We’re fortunate to live near a Growers’ co-op where I can walk away with $40.00 worth of produce that surpasses the $80.00 purchase above. I’m all about supporting local farmers, but driving to the cornfield, the co-op and the rickety road side peach stand yield better bargains.

  39. Kirsten says:

    I’m a farmers market junkie. I frequent my own here in brantford, and I often do Cambridge and st Jacobs too. Please direct me to more that would be in your area Karen? I’m not in love with the Hamilton market as its inside, and the weather is too nice for that right now.

    • Jan in Waterdown says:

      If you check out farmersmarketsontario.com, you can look up various locations in the area such as Burlington, Dundas, and of course, Waterdown! 😅

    • Alena says:

      Kirsten,
      You should visit the Kitchener Farmers’ Market – takes place every Saturday. Outdoors for as long as weather allows (some vendors are inside, like meat, dairy, etc. vendors), once the weather turns cold everybody moves indoors.

  40. Jenny W says:

    We have a several small Farmer’s Markets & road side stalls where I live, that I frequent quite often. Unfortunately, there is little variety.
    This weekend, however I will be strolling through The Saint John Farmers Market (quite famous here in N.B.) – I expect to take a few hours to explore it, and I plan on bringing a cooler so I can bring home goods that I can not find here at home.

  41. Beth W says:

    Aaaaahhhh! Thank you, thank you, thank you for being someone else who understands and appreciates the “hamster-sized” cereal boxes! It was one of the first things I bought after signing the dotted line on our cottage this July. A weekend at the cottage isn’t the same without a uselessly small box of corn pops!

  42. Nicole says:

    So my town/suburb/whathaveyou’s farmer’s market is early Saturday mornings and I’m… just never going to be an early Saturday morning kind of gal. But! I found out last week that the next town over has one on Wednesday afternoons. And it’s on my calendar today but I was being wishy washy because reasons. So now I’m going to shower and go marketing! Well, not right NOW, because it doesn’t open for another four hours.

  43. Carswell says:

    I live for the huge dahlias one of my local market vendors has at this time of year.

    Next year I am actually going to bite the bullet and purchase a season’s worth of produce from one of our local growers. She has the most fantastic stuff – and her portions are generous.

  44. Di J says:

    Good advertisement for Farmer’s Markets, Karen.

    Do folks in Canada have to pay for plastic shopping/carrier bags? Here in the UK we’ve got used to taking our own bags when we shop or else having to pay for them. Amazing how quickly we’ve adapted to it and it saves that huge mountain of plastic accumulating.

    • Jenny W says:

      Yes, here in some parts of Canada (I live in New Brunswick), some places charge you for the use of their plastic bags. Quite a few stores and shops encourage us to purchase and use their reusable shopping bags. This makes much more sense, as they are sturdier and hold so much more product. I keep mine in the door of my car, so I can grab & go!

    • Karen says:

      We don’t pay for plastic bags at farmer’s markets but we do pay for them at grocery stores. Yes, most people here use reusable bags, but I for one sometimes purposely leave mine in the car so I can get a few plastic bags when I go to the grocery store. I like to have a stash of a few on hand because I need them for various things. Also, we don’t have the plastic accumulation problem too much because the plastic bags are recyclable and (most people) recycle them. ~ karen!

    • Di J says:

      Thanks for your comments about the plastic bag situation in Canada. It seems much the same as in the UK.

  45. Grammy says:

    Love my local farmers market. For all the reasons you said. I live in a busy suburb of a capital city, but every neighborhood has farmers markets so no one has to travel far and it really does make people more friendly, in addition to getting things grocery stores don’t have around here. The old guy who brings his freshly-pressed olive oils, the fellow with twenty flavors of roasted pistachios, local honey, breads, all manner of glorious fresh produce, and an old hippie couple playing guitars and singing golden oldies all make Saturday mornings my happy shopping time.

  46. JulieD says:

    Lovely post!

  47. TucsonPatty says:

    I get to visit, play-work, and shop at my best friend from college’s farmers market in Kansas every summer in the middle of peach season. (Pome on the Range south of Ottowa, Kansas). This year I had watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, peaches (of course), corn on the cob, tomatoes, okra, green beans, and did I mention peaches and corn on the cob? I think I ate two dozen ears of corn all by myself without getting sick, and I’m proud of that! I was in hog heaven. People have told me here in Arizona they don’t have the “Sweet Cream” corn that I loved so much. Why? I love that Farmers Market with all my heart!

    • TucsonPatty says:

      It wasn’t sweet cream – it was “Peaches and Cream”, with varigated pale yellow and white kernels and so so tender and yummy and tiny little kernels.

  48. Ev Wilcox says:

    Have had an astoundingly bad day-got back from the hospital at midnight where husband languishes. Reading about farmer’s markets really was wonderful and I so agree with it.
    Thanks Karen, I needed that!

  49. Paula says:

    I love the vetting idea at your local market.

  50. Lavada says:

    I love the farmer’s market.
    Happy, friendly people.
    LOVE LOVE LOVE

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