Why shop at a farmers market?
Farmers markets offer farm-fresh produce that is often picked at the peak of ripeness. Typically, one can find hand-picked produce such as tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, zucchini, and more that is locally grown. This means that the produce is full of flavor and more nutritious than store-bought items.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants! It is also seasonal, which means the produce is going to vary depending on the time of year. If you are concerned about GMO produce, many of the farms that participate in farmers markets grow GMO-free and organic produce.
Shopping at farmers markets can also be environmentally conscious. This is because the produce does not have to be shipped several hundred miles, which uses tons of fuel and emits carbon monoxide. Instead, the produce is coming from the local farming community.
Farmers markets support local economies and farming communities. By shopping locally, you are giving back to the community and the local economy.
There are often other activities at farmers markets such as games and arts and crafts for kids, as well as local music. It can be a fun and social event for the entire family. There are often vendors that sell prepared food items so you can also have breakfast or lunch while you are there.
Tips for shopping at farmers markets:
- Bring cash! While there are some vendors that take credit cards, some do not and many prefer cash. Oftentimes, there is a charge associated with credit cards and this means less money for the vendor.
- Timing is important. If you want the freshest produce it is a good idea to arrive when the market opens. However, if you are looking for discounts, consider shopping about an hour prior to when the market closes. Many vendors will discount their produce towards the end of the market because they do not want to take anything home. This may mean that you will have to be creative with your cooking, as it is often the less popular produce that is left.
- Do a loop first and see what is available and what’s new. Then make your decision about what you want to buy. It’s smart to have an idea of how much you need so that you don’t buy too much.
- Bring a cooler and ice with you. This is especially important if you live far from the farmers market or need to run other errands before heading home.
- Try something new and get out of your comfort zone. Consider purchasing something you wouldn’t normally pick. Go online or check out a cookbook from the library and find a recipe that uses the item. Don’t hesitate to ask the vendor for suggestions – after all, they grew it and know a lot about it!
- Don’t hesitate to ask questions. If a vendor is selling meat, ask where it came from, if it is grass-fed, etc.
- Buy certain items in bulk. Consider purchasing berries or other produce that can be easily frozen for later use. You will often get a better deal this way. Plus, you can take what you don’t need and freeze it. This can be great for the winter time when certain fruit and vegetables aren’t in season.
Happy (healthy) shopping!
Fort Collins Farmers Market: Open May through mid-October
Location: 1001 E. Harmony Rd.
Sundays 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (rain or shine)
Wednesdays 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (rain or shine)
Drake Road Farmers Market: Open April 21 through October
Location: 802 W. Drake Road (Northwest Corner of Drake and Worthington)
Saturdays 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Loveland East Farmers Market at Jax
Location: 950 East Eisenhower Blvd (16.46 mi), Loveland, Colorado 80527
Tuesdays 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Larimer County Farmers Market: May 19th through October 27th, 2018
Location: 200 South Oak Street, Fort Collins
Saturday 8:00 a.m. to noon
Windsor Farmers Market: June 23 through September 29th
Location: Boardwalk Park (110 5th Street, Windsor, CO 80550)
Saturdays: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
Greeley Farmers Market: May 19 – October 27
Location: Historic Train Depot
Saturdays: 8:00 a.m. to noon