Unexpected Things To Do At Farmers Markets You Want To Take Advantage Of

Danyel Mira Brisk's picture
Farmers Market peaches

Farmers markets are rich vibrant places that are often an important part of the local culture as well as economy. You may not realize that there are many unexpected things you do do at farmers markets in addition to enjoy amazing fresh produce. They are ever increasing in popularity so let's take advantage of all they have to offer. Whether you are an entrepreneur, young parent or healthy food lover, there is much to learn and do at farmers markets that you may not realize.

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I have more Farmers Markets in a 20 min radius than I can get to on a Saturday morning. Thank goodness a couple are open throughout the week, and some even year-round. Regular and pop-up farmers markets are increasingly popular. In the last couple years, a few new neighborhood markets have started up right around me. As a lover of local fresh food, I have visited them all, trying new things at each one. Farmer Markets are more important to our local economy and culture than you may have known. Here are some of reasons you may not have expected or considered for shopping at your local farmers markets

Entertaining and relaxing outing
Farmers markets are more like an outing than just shopping. Give yourself a little extra time if you can to browse around and enjoy the whole scene. Some even have music playing, cooking demonstrations, kids and other activities.

Kick up your feet and enjoy. Join in the fun and make it part of your relaxation time. Shopping at local farmers markets add to the richness of our lives with the fresh air, kind people and community connections. There are new unexpected things to do every time I go to the farmers market.

Expand your palate and experiences
The range of things you will find at any given farmers markets is often slightly different from your average grocery story. The offerings may vary week to week. Explore. It can be like tasting your way around the world at times. I have experiences French style cheeses and butters, which were excellent, Italian made olive oils, that were out of this world, along with many other creative creations that keep me coming back for more. You may just want to impress your next house guests with that gourmet grape juice or wine made from orchards just a few towns away.

You can also benefit from buying some of your favorite seasonal produce, at a good price as well. One thing to keep in mind is that vendors are usually eager to have you taste test whenever possible. Explore and see what you want to take home with you this time.

Meet and support the neighbors
A main purpose of farmers markets is to have local vendors selling locally grown or made items. The vendors themselves are our neighbors. Hard working, creative and certainly contributors to our community. They often have a lot to offer and share beyond the goods on the table. The Mecklenburg County Farmers Market is blooming now into its 5th generation. It also happens to be an example of a unique indoor farmers market.

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Get to know the people and their story. What got them started and what drives them to do what they do? You may learn some about local history, industries, specific products or the growing process. In the least, you will walk away more connected to your community and having a deeper sense of place. You may even come away with information about the next great event to go to, town hall meeting you want to attend, or other local news that may impact your live.

Networking opportunities
Along these lines of things that can impact your live, amount the unexpected things to do at farmers markets is networking. Whether you are a new mother, working on building a business, or advertising some other event, goods or services, likely your potential partners, friends, kids play-mates, customers and referral sources will be at the market also.

Come prepared with an open heart and mind as well as business card, flyer or just ready to share your name and number with another friendly mother. Don't be afraid to start conversations with the vendors and fellow travelers alike and see where it goes. Yes, its OK to do. Someone has to be the one to start it, but most people are glad to connect. If you are not use to doing this, don't worry. It will take practice, but its worth it. After all, if you can't trust people at local farmers markets, who can you trust.

Get a massage or energy treatment
Many markets now how vendors that offer treatments onside. I have gotten probably the best bodywork session of my life, and I've had a few to speak of, from a vendor at a farmers market. He was relatively unassuming but as he offered a 'sample', I could immediately tell he know what he was doing and jumped on the table. Wow. Did I come away feeling refreshed. On the flip side, if you offer services like this yourself, you may want to consider local markets as a possible new venue for your business.

Feel good about supporting the local economy
Yes, this is a major factor and you can feel really good about it. For every dollar spent at a farmers market, almost half of it stays right in the local community, and almost all within the state. Additionally, imagine if even just 10% of our grocery money was spent at farmers markets, the money available to state small and medium sized growers and entrepreneurs would add up quickly, creating not only jobs but also to our rich culture.

An added bonus of buying directly from the producer or owner of the business is that you have the opportunity to barter. Often they may cut a deal for bulk purchases which you can bring home and freeze the extra for later.

Oh, and did we mention get amazing fresh produce. These are just a few of the unexpected things I have found you can do at farmers markets. Look up your local farmers markets and go to town. Just don't forget to BYOB - Bring Your Own Bag!

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