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SURVIVAL KITCHEN

Buy Local At Farmers Market

buy-local-at-farmers-market

Reminder: By shopping for produce at a nearby Farmers’ Market, you will be decreasing the distance that your food will have traveled to reach your plate by an average of 1,500 miles!


 
Farmers’ markets were commonplace before the Industrial age but most were replaced in modernized cities with grocery stores and supermarkets that sell food that is usually produced, packaged, and shipped from remote places.

Vegetables and fruits grown nearby are not picked as early as produce that comes from further away, so they have longer to ripen, less need to be sprayed later with artificial growth enhancers or coloring, less time to deteriorate nutritionally, and are picked at the peak of their taste quality.

The farmers reap many benefits from selling to the local community and being independent from large corporations.

While approximately 80% of the money that goes to large food corporations is used to pay the “middlemen”, almost all of the money that supports local farmers goes back to the farmer.

Typically the majority of the money gained at farmers markets stays in the community. This money also stays in the community longer than money that supports larger corporations while potentially creating local jobs and raising incomes in the community.

By supporting your local farmers, you’re keeping them in business, and are helping farmland stay in the hands of people who are likely to use sustainable methods.

 
From the standpoint of survival and preparedness, these same farmers may become an invaluable resource during times following systemic collapse.

Establishing a relationship with your local farmer will also help you (as compared to complete strangers) should you come into need following disaster or collapse… just be sure to ‘bring something to the table’, so to speak, that you can trade such as your time helping at tasks, etc.

Generally, produce from the farmers’ market is always what’s in season. Except in summer, the veggies and fruits in your supermarket are almost always ‘world flyers’. Something to keep in mind about imports is that other countries don’t necessarily ban the same chemicals or drugs the U.S. does, and/or they aren’t always enforced. Ask your grocer where this or that vegetable came from. You may find that some are local while others are not. By asking the question, you will be registering your concern to the grocer, which may influence decisions later on.

Buy local, know a local farmer, eat fresh, and preserve the rest. You will be supporting your community infrastructure, you will have a better idea of where to turn if you need food or would like to learn about growing food, and you will hopefully be encouraged to learn how to preserve these same foods for later.

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12 Comments

  1. The reasons why those grocery store tomatoes (or any other fresh food)taste and feel like cardboard and don’t smell like tomatoes:

    They were picked two weeks before they were ripe so they could ripen in transit.
    They are old by the time you get them, not fresh by a long shot.
    They were refrigerated to try to keep them fresh.
    They are a variety that has been bred for commercial use; ie. they are bred for thicker skin to travel better, they were bred for low acid to appeal to more people, they are bred to LOOK perfect-color and shape, with little or no emphasis on flavor or nutrition.

    Buying your food from a farmers market avoids all that, the farmers can grow the best varieties for EATING and not the best for SHIPPING.
    These foods will likely be heirloom varieties, which by the way, you can keep seeds from and grow the same kind for yourself. You can speak with the person who actually grew that food and find out what variety you are getting and how it was grown.

    I used to have my own farm stand (pre-wheelchair days) and I was only open on Saturdays and made more money than my full time job. This tells me there is huge interest and need for accessing food this way.
    I’ve been working on the neighborhood kids to help me with my gardens and animals in exchange for fruit and vegetables for their families. Everyone around here has chickens so my eggs are worthless to anyone but me.

  2. Ken… I like the idea of a farmers market, sounds good, actually, too good. A lot of the farmers markets are a farce. You see fresh tomatoes, yal, its too early for tomatoes, sweet corn, its too early for sweet corn, and the list goes on & on. Oh, and local TV station is plugging about all the fresh tomatoes at the market. They probably never seen a tomato grown on a vine. Now you have grocery chains imitating the farmer at the farmers markets and/or you have resale entrepreneurs who just purchased that item down south for a resale at your farmers market. Yes there is rules, how you know they are followed?

    I raise a lot of heirloom tomato plants, really, way too many. So I thought I would take them to the farmers market. Sure, I could sell them in a couple weekends and be gone, done. After filling out all the paperwork, an insurance policy was required (liability) which after checking it out would cost me more than I had combined in my tomato plants. I guess they didn’t want small vendors. I sent a written complain to the county extension agent.

    So, yes, the farmers market is good idea. What I’m saying is, don’t be fooled, think before buying into the fresh, farm raised, neighbor down the road kinda thing (local).

    “Note” the county has changed the rules… insurance not required, only recommended!

    1. Farmers markets in my city of 4 million mainly consist of those home sellers of produced foods, bottled relish’s jams and pickled vegetables. It’s actually hard to find fresh “farmers” vegetables and fruit. Sixpense is right, you really have to do your homework and check out the validity of the stall holders claims.

      I know of a couple of genuine farmers markets in the subtropical areas of Australia. The rest I’ve been to carry food that has been processed in some way or other.

      Australia has organic certification. Government authority controlled. There is “organic” food and “certified organic food”. The latter being the only that can be really trusted.

      Some of the larger organic supermarkets carry “natural farmed” produce foods.
      You need to be careful when choosing the right organic outlet. Generally choosing the one with the most shoppers has the lowest prices and better produce.

      F.W.I.W. suburban farmers markets in our city are held on different Saturdays or Sundays of the month. Doing a tour of these markets can see you seeing the same stall holders at each market selling the same old processed jams, relish’s and pickles.

    2. Even worse here at the local farmer’s market(Tuesday and Saturday)–one year, ‘someone’ forced all participants to charge the same price for every item.
      Oh, yes, ‘they’ did.
      I do NOT buy at that farmer’s market, since a grower is just across the highway and I can buy there. IF my tomatoes, green peppers, squash, cucumbers, and jalapenos(I just pickled 2 pints…:-))don’t produce, I go there.

  3. I am surrounded buy local farms, berrys in abundance, apple orchards, vegetables, hay, dairy, beef, chicken and pork, breweries, wineries, and now a local vodka distiller! There is an organization called Community Sustainable Agriculture that gathers up produce, picks and packs it and delivers it to your door the same day!

    My son has the fortunate experience of driving the deliveries for this group this year and I have more produce than I can eat, freeze, or can. Needless to say, I am sharing. I have been truly blessed this year and I wish abundance on all of you!

  4. Ken… what I miss is the the road side vegetable stands. Some times they even had a money jar sitting out there. We had a neighbor fellow that had a huge truck patch, that was what my father called it. Acres of mellons, sweet corn, tomatoes, green beans, all the vegetables, this went on & on. He had hilly ground and he would have these tillable acres just here & there on each hilltop. He would sell at his stand what ever came into season. He raised a lot of stuff. He sold the best & eat the rest. Here in my parts, haven’t seen a vegetable stand in years, but in the south, I see them all the time. Honey, strawberries, blackberries, mellons, peaches, etc….
    A friend I work with tells me his neighbor raises peaches & cream sweetcorn, two acres every year and sells it from his truck bed. You can guess what I did, I wrote it down on my preventive maintenance calender, July 2013, SWEETCORN!

  5. Small town texas girl….sadly you have to drive 20 miles to the local farmers market. Sometimes you can get ok stuff but at outragous prices. Its too expensive for local people to harvest their own stuff and try to sell it with all the regulations. Its just better to grown your own stuff and sshhh but trade with family and friends.

    1. In my country the major supermarket chains are screwing the farmers. Either the farmers sell their produce at bankruptcy level prices to the supermarkets or the supermarket threaten to import food.

      I don’t mind paying a little bit extra to the farmers at the markets (provided the stall holders are bone fide farmers).

      I went to a farmers market today. (City based) There were about 20 stall holders of which there were three who were selling fresh fruit and vegetable. Two were organic farmers (in actual fact “amateur farmers”). The one seller who was a “professional farmer” was selling his produce and claimed it to be “spray free”. He can’t claim organic because his land has used artificial fertilizers in the past.
      The prices were around the same paid in retail organic shops – more than supermarket.

  6. If you stopped shopping at the grocery store tomorrow they would never even notice you were gone. If you took a small fraction of that money and spent it at your local farmers market you will help that local farmer pay his rent, who knows you might even help him save his farm.

    I sell at our local Saturday market and even though it’s a small part of my business it still produces enough to make the house payment for 6 months out of the year.

    Sixpense, I agree some markets have become very commercialized but they are a minority. Almost all markets in our area are allowed to have what is called a produce “trucker” that one trucker is allowed to sell produce not yet available in our area. In our case the produce in Eastern Washington is ready a couple of months ahead of our produce. Once our produce is being harvested locally that trucker is limited again to out of season produce.

    Thanks and support your local market

  7. If anyone here is interested in starting to do their local market or maybe doing a home market or home nursery feel free to check out my old blog at thegreenhouseguy.com

    Not trying to sell anything here. I’ve been in the greenhouse business for over 25 years and have led more than a few of the customers that buy and use my greenhouses into becoming a little more self sustaining. Several of them sit at the same markets that I do now.

    The above mentioned website is a history of my time in the nursery business in both the retail nursery field and farmers markets. This is my passion as well as my living and I am happy to share it with anyone that is leaning toward the field.

  8. For those of you who cannot find a decent farmers market you can look into CSA’s. It stands for “Consumer Supported Agriculture”. You basically enter in to a contract with a local farmer where you pay them a set fee at the beginning of the season, then the farmer supplies you with a certain amount of vegetables on a weekly basis throughout the growing season. I get more variety than I could ever find at a farmers market. I never know what I am going to get from week to week. Since the farmer has already gotten paid, he is willing to grow different vegetables that he wasn’t willing to take a chance on before because he never knows how well they will sell at the farmers market. I also buy free range eggs and grass fed beef from him. He also has told us that if the SHTF, that he will take care of us. He recognizes that we are helping him now, so if need be he can help us later. We have been doing business with him for 5 years now and we couldn’t be happier.

  9. Our local farm market is so expensive it’s a joke. I use to really enjoy going on a Saturday morning with the family. The wife and I still go once in a while but both of us are just blown away by the prices. I find a better way is to find nice roadside stands. We have a couple specific ones we go to now all the time. Our garden is still the least expensive.

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