The Ultimate Guide for Buying Local at the Farmers Market
According to my husband (and myself) there is a huge difference between regular store bought fruit and local organic fruit. I know what you are thinking, “yes a huge price difference!” and although that may be the case there are so many other things to consider. When we buy local organic produce we are choosing better quality and community. How so?
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Why Buy Locally?
Why should you choose to buy local products? Well for one reason when you buy local you are helping the environment. What? How? Most of the items we buy from the grocery store were frozen and shipped from miles away just be sold cheaper. That shipping has a big carbon footprint which only gets bigger the further away an item comes. So when you buy local produce you keep that carbon footprint smaller and reduce carbon emissions drastically.
Buying from these smaller businesses also helps build community. Most of the farms at farmers markets are small and often run by families. Small businesses need the money far more than huge corporations and when you buy from them you’re giving your support. Keeping your money local also helps create jobs boosting the local economy. Farmers markets are a great way to meet the farmers and to make new friends and grow your local community.
In addition to this, farmers markets allow you to have easy access to organic produce! Most farmers market vendors sell organic produce and even if they’re not certified they may still not use pesticides. Often small farmers may not be able to afford the organic certification, yet that doesn’t mean they aren’t organic! This is great because it gives you access to organic produce that may not be easily available in other areas.
Farmers markets also support bringing your own bag! This allows you to shop plastic free and judgement free at the same place (thank goodness!). Some farmers markets even have composting drop off centers making them very eco friendly.
Clearly, there’s many benefits to buy locally from farmers markets but what should you buy when shopping at farmers markets?
Farmers Market Must Haves!
Walking into a farmers market can be overwhelming if you are new or especially if it is a large one! Making a list ahead of time of the items you need will help you to not stress out. Here is a list of my must haves whenever I go to buy local from a farmers market!
This one is super obvious but I had to include it because it is the easiest thing to find and it is very plentiful! Not only does this reduce carbon footprint as mentioned before but the lack of pesticides reduces negative environmental impact as well. Plus organic tastes so much better!
Raw Organic Local Honey
I don’t often use honey, in fact I mainly use it in teas when I am sick and as a face mask for my natural skin care routine. Yet on the occasions where I do need some honey I only choose raw organic local honey because of all the benefits it provides! Buying local honey helps with allergies, and it even helps out bees! So this is a definite must.
I love me some handmade soaps! When I started reducing waste in my life soap was one of the most obvious and easiest switches. Liquid soap usually comes in plastic bottles that can’t be easily recycled, yet once bar soap is gone-it’s gone! There is no more packaging left to clean up. Handmade bar soaps are so much better than store bought because not only are they way prettier but they are also usually made from all natural ingredients. Buying local handmade soaps are also less likely to have palm oil in them. So beauty, plastic free, locally made, and all natural ingredients are the reasons why I only buy local handmade bar soaps!
In addition to handmade soaps, handmade candles and other small goodies are always on my list! I love anything simple and handmade-especially beauty products. When it comes to beauty products you can often buy (or even get for free) sample sizes to try out the items first. When I am looking for small gifts for friends the farmers market is a great place to go to find unique handmade items for anyone on your list!
This is one of the cutest ideas that I have seen at a farmers market! At my local farmers market there is this adorable flower cart that has the most beautiful flowers and they are all locally grown! I love this so much because I know these flowers are from my area and didn’t travel many miles just to be put in a vase for a few days.
What to Bring
Now that you know what some of my must have local shopping items are, and have perhaps come up with some of your own, you need to know how to prepare. Here is a list of what you need to bring with you when going to a farmers market.
This is the most obvious item you should bring so that you can buy ALL the produce and things without wasting All the plastics. Many farmers markets are big supporters for bringing your own bags and are used to people doing so which makes it easy for you.
Reusable Container and Utensils
Many farmers markets have food trucks and stands to buy dinner or snacks from, if you take advantage of these goodies-come prepared! Bring your reusable containers so that you can have your food put in there instead of on a paper plate. Bring your reusable utensils to avoid using plastic single use ones. This applies to if you choose to get a drink as well-bring that bamboo or metal straw! To learn more about reducing waste with utensils and how to keep them clean read my post here.
I bring mine with me everywhere, and especially when I’m at farmers markets! I don’t always want to pay extra money for a drink so I stock my reusable bottle up with water and I am good to go! This is also extra helpful as often times the farmers markets are in the summer when it is hot and I need extra water to stay hydrated. If I decide to get a drink I don’t have to waste a plastic cup and I can ask to get my own bottle filled instead.
How many times have I gone to the farmers market and wanted strawberries only to have no cash to pay for it? Way too many…. I often end up walking around looking for a stand that takes cards instead and I miss out on good deals or supporting the farmers that I wanted to. Don’t make the same mistake. Bring some cash so that you don’t lose out on options!
I get cold easily and there’s been several times that once it’s dark I’m too cold to enjoy the night. Think ahead and check the weather, if the temperature will drop a lot in the evening be prepared! Bring a sweater, hoodie, or a shawl to keep yourself warm and continue enjoying the evening.
The season for farmers markets is also the season for bugs. If you are like me and bugs eat you alive bring some natural bug-spray to avoid pain and suffering the next day. This will help you to buy local goods worry free.
What Will You Buy Local at Your Next Farmers Market?
There are so many great things to buy local from farmers markets, from handmade goodies to fresh produce the options are endless! This was a list of some of my favorite items and what I need so that you could gain some inspiration for your next farmers market trip.
What are some of your favorite things to buy local from a farmers market? What items do you always bring? Share with me in the comments below!