(BLACK PR WIRE) – As the world enters the second decade of the 21st century, we face a host of issues seemingly more pressing now than in previous years. These concerns include the economy, environmental degradation, energy consumption, health, and keeping small, community-based businesses alive against the intrusion of large corporate chains.
More Americans are discovering farmers’ markets, and the ways they offer answers to these problems. As the name describes, farmers’ markets are businesses where local farmers sell their produce directly to the public. The markets come in a variety of forms; some are entirely outdoors, while others are in covered buildings and others operate in a tailgate fashion. According to the Washington Post, the number of these establishments has grown from over one thousand in 1994 to over five thousand in 2009, appearing in rural, urban and suburban environments.
What are the benefits of buying from a farmers’ market? The foods available are generally fresher than those found in large grocery chains, organically grown, and less expensive since there is no “middleman” party involved. Beyond the immediate benefits to the consumer, there is reduced energy consumption since the foods are harvested and sold in the same locality. Additionally, buying from local farmers puts money back into local economies.
Customers most frequently purchase organic fruits and vegetables from these markets, but their offerings don’t necessarily stop there. Markets may sell meats, free-range eggs, freshly made soups, granola, nuts, jellies and syrups, baking mixes, milk, juices and a variety of other foods. Farmers’ markets not only sell these foods fresher, they sustain a greater diversity of foods by providing farmers with outlets to sell ethnic items not typically available at large chain stores. Many markets carry Caribbean, Latin American, African and Asian products, which supports ethnically diverse merchants.
So, do some research and see what local producers are available in your neighborhood. You may decide to make them the next guest at your dinner table.