Shopping at farmers markets has a certain appeal because based on aesthetics alone, it’s much better than going to large supermarkets. But as any shopper will tell you, there’s a lot more to it, as there are simply more options available here that you cannot get anywhere else.
Why Shop at Farmers Markets?
First of all, buying at farmers market provides support for local agricultural products, and that’s always a good thing. Not only that, but it helps the environment too since the food doesn’t have to be transported halfway across the planet, saving on energy and fuel. Second, you’re eating food in its natural environment, with all the nutrients suited for your region and climate. Another reason why I love shopping here is there’s plenty of organic fruits and vegetables, and at prices that are more affordable than what you’d find in the supermarket. Furthermore, you’re likely to find lots of foods that are pesticide free, and there’s also the fact that you can actually speak to the farmer about the methods they use, what they sell and so on. Shopping at farmers market also means you’re doing your part in supporting the local folks, so it’s your community that will benefit, not some multinational company that operates halfway around the country or the world. In other words, it all comes back to you eventually.
photo credit: kthread
My love for these markets are only matched by my desire for reusable bags. These have been around for a long time, but it’s only now that people have come to realize their full benefits, and if you haven’t gotten one, well it’s time you did for the following reasons. Plastics cause heavy damage to the environment and they take almost 100 years to decompose Less than one percent of plastics in the US are recycled, as the rest end up in landfills, the trash or just thrown in the ocean. By simply purchasing a bag that’s reusable, you’ll be doing your part in reducing the amount of trash in the environment. More and more animals die every year because the ingest plastic bags discarded in the ocean More than 10% of the debris that wash up and pollute the United States coastline is comprised of plastic bags More than 12 million barrels of oil are used to produce the 100 billion plastic bags the US uses yearly But aside from helping the environment, these bags are perfectly usable and can be used the same way as regular plastic bags. The biggest difference is they are reusable and aren’t going to contribute to pollution, and they’re available in different sizes as well so if you’re thinking of bringing one while in a farmers market, you can do so easily. As you can see, buying stuff at farmers markets can be a very satisfying experience, and just like buying reusable bags, offers great value for your money. Any way you look at it, it’s an experience you’re going to savor and look forward to again and again.
Free range eggs, fresh bread, homemade cheese and yogurt, and organic local produce abound at Washington, DC farmers markets. I went to two this weekend and you just can’t trade the experience of chatting with the people who grow your food – especially when the alternative is the bored teenage checker at the local Safeway. My favorite part of my weekend farmers market excursions was at the H Street Farmers Market when, upon seeing my reusable bag, a lettuce vendor told me how happy she is that everyone is bringing their own bags these days. Since last year, she’s seen a 50% decrease in the number of plastic bags her customers need. I looked around the Dupont Farmers Market and noticed that she’s right – just about everyone was carrying at least one reusable shopping bag. Yay! But I also saw a distinct lack of reusable produce bags like my lovely organic cotton produce bag by Ecobags. My guess is that people don’t know they exist; I didn’t until six months ago. Maybe reusable produce bags are the next step in the anti-plastic bag revolution. No matter where in the world you are, local markets and reusable bags are the way to go.
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