I’ve always been an avid shopper of the farmer’s market, but I know a lot of people haven’t been to or have misconceptions. I’m here to change that way of thinking. I want everyone to want to realize that the farmer’s market is a great place to shop for your every day groceries! I love the Orange Homegrown Farmer’s Market, I am there weekly and they have a fantastic selection and friendly vendors. I’ve been to quite a few farmer’s markets and this is by far my favorite outside of L.A. Regardless, whether you’re shopping at the Orange farmer’s market or another location, farmer’s markets are great way to get to know and support your community. Here are my 5 reasons you should shop at your local farmer’s market:
1. Fresh/Organic Produce!
You can’t always find really fresh or organic produce at your nearest grocery store. We all want to buy organic but it’s difficult when the grocery store only carries a select few organic items. Or even worse: the items are already bad because no one wants to spend the extra money on that and the “organic” romaine lettuce that’s over a week old and fairly brown. Gross. If you shop at your local farmer’s market, you’ll find that it’s all extremely fresh, in season and mostly organic! I go once a week and try to pick up all of my veggies to feed 2-3 people, and it’s usually no more than $30-$40 dollars in total. Not bad at all. I make sure to use green savers in my drawers though because organic produce doesn’t have all of the chemicals that regular produce normally would so it tends to wilt a little bit faster.
2. You’re supporting local business
Let’s be real here. We all want to support our local business owners but a lot of the time those little mom and pop shops are crazy expensive or limited when you’re comparing them to Amazon and other large retailers. But it’s easy to justify shopping local at a farmer’s market when it comes to food because you know it’s going to be quality and you can actually get great deals. It’s not always more expensive that shopping at the market. You just have to look for the right items in season and you’ll find that the pricing is not terribly high. I also love supporting local business because I know that what I’m paying goes directly into producing more organic and quality produce. Which is so much better for us and the environment.
3. You can see and taste the food
This is a big one for me. If there’s one thing I HATE, it’s a bad cherry tomato. I have a serious adoration for cherry tomatoes, but sometimes the batches offered at my grocery store end up being bland and flavorless. Which sometimes ends with my tossing out the whole batch. Shopping at my farmer’s market I can guarantee I pick up a batch that I will like because I can try it. I mean, I ask first always – I don’t just rip of a kale leaf and start eating it. If you talk with the vendor they will likely sample items for you so you can try how great their produce is. I don’t always sample the produce, especially when it isn’t offered as a sample because you can also SEE that this is better quality than prepackaged produce items. The fruit and vegetables are brighter and more vibrant.
4. Different items that you would normally pick up from a generic grocery chain
I recently discovered a line of cashew cheese at my farmer’s market that I swear is the best I have ever had. Vegan cheese is SO good when it’s made right, but I hadn’t discovered one that I love. I just found my absolute favorite at the farmer’s market! It’s a brand called Blode Kuh, and I swear it could pass as cream cheese it’s THAT good. This is easily one of my favorite finds to date. If you are in the OC/LA area I highly recommend them. This isn’t something I would have discovered at the store, I found them specifically at my market! Shopping at the farmer’s market has opened up some many doors to new foods I wouldn’t find normally. I also shop for specialty flavored olive oils and vinegars, homemade salsas, specialty popsicles (drool), plants, and fresh meat and fish vendors. This gives me so many options to test out in cooking, and I love trying out new things.
5. Knowledgable Vendors
A great thing about shopping at the farmer’s market is that the vendors know so much about the produce or items they’re selling. That’s not something you’ll find at the grocery store. I just found out that you can use beef bones for at least 4 batches of bone broth, maybe even more. Who knew? Our farmer’s market meat vendor also told me that pork bones make excellent broth too! I’m definitely going to be trying that soon and I’m so excited that my slightly expensive beef bones can be used 4 times, not just once like I thought. I wouldn’t have learned this information from my grocer, a lot of the staff there doesn’t even know how to cook half of the items they sell.