When I got my first apartment during my sophomore year of college, I was thrown into the world of grocery shopping. While I had done it from time to time before college, I was never completely in charge of buying all of my own food. It was harder than I’d expected. Over time though, I figured out which stores to go to for certain things, and how often I had to go. Lucky for me, St. Louis offers a ton of fresh produce options from the local farmers’ markets. As the years passed, I realized how valuable this was and now I try to take a visit to the farmers’ market at least a few times a month.
There are so many benefits of shopping at a farmers’ market versus your run-of-the-mill grocery store. And there are usually multiple farmers’ market locations in every city. (Check here for farmer’s market locations near you.) Keep reading to hear all the wonderful reasons you should go check them out!
1. Facilitates a Plant-Based Diet
As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, eating a plant-based diet is extremely important to our health. Plants are a main source of the nutrients that our bodies need. By going to the farmers’ market over the grocery store, you are avoiding a lot of processed food and surrounding yourself with tons of produce instead! I’ve found when I’m at a farmers’ market, it’s significantly easier to make healthy shopping choices as opposed to being at a grocery store. All those fresh fruits and veggies are hard to resist!
2. A Place to Find Locally-Grown Produce
Eating locally-sourced produce is so important, and I can’t emphasize it enough. Not only are things usually fresher and tastier, but it’s better from a sustainable agricultural standpoint as well. Obviously not everything we eat can be local. But when it’s possible to buy things that are locally grown, we should! Farmers’ markets are probably one of the easiest ways to do this, especially if you can’t grow your own produce at home.
3. More Sustainable Packaging
Speaking of sustainability, farmers’ markets also provide much more sustainable packaging than most grocery stores. In the produce section at the store, lots of fruits and veggies are wrapped in layers of unnecessary plastic, which isn’t great for the planet. At a farmers’ market, the farmers will usually put their produce in wooden bins or in nothing at all. This way, you can bring your own bags and not produce any plastic waste.
4. Supports Local Farmers & Businesses
One of the reasons it’s so difficult to find local produce is because it’s pretty difficult to be a local farmer! Keeping a business like this going without exporting goods out of the area tends to take a lot of work with not a lot of reward. If we want to help out local farmers and other local businesses, then we have to actually give them business. Farmers’ markets, as the name suggests, are the perfect place to do this! Just think of it as a way to increase availability of local produce in your area!
5. Get More For Less
The first few times I bought groceries at the farmers’ market, I was astonished at how much food I got for how little I spent. Especially when buying produce, these market stands sell their food for significantly less than you can find them at the grocery store. So not only do you get to enjoy all the other perks of going to the farmers’ market, but you also get to save money while doing it! And who isn’t on a budget these days?
6. Introduces You to New Things
One of cool parts about my frequent trips to the farmers’ market is that I see new things every time I go. It’s really fun to try random new fruits and vegetables that I’ve never seen before. Some of these things even become a part of my regular diet once I try them. Going to the farmers’ market is a really great way to expose yourself to exotic foods without leaving your area.
7. Fun Atmosphere
Lastly, going to a farmers’ market is honestly just a fun time! They’re usually outside and it’s a perfect way to spend a sunny Saturday morning. Most times, there are various samples available from vendors, and snacks and drinks to enjoy. It’s a very family-friendly atmosphere, and a great place to meet up with friends. A weekend outing to the farmers’ market never disappoints.
There are so many benefits of going to a farmers’ market. And it’s so wonderful that they’re becoming more popular and more easily accessible to everyone! There’s really no reason not to go! If you were hesitant to go out and find your local farmers’ market before, hopefully I’ve convinced you that it’s worth a trip! What are you waiting for?