Farmer’s markets are in full swing across Georgia. They’re great places to buy locally grown produce directly from small farmers and gardeners. When it comes to produce, are farmer’s markets any better than supermarkets? Well, it depends. For consistency and reliability, supermarkets can’t be beat. Do you like pineapples or want a strawberry in December? Your supermarket probably has that. And you know what you’re getting. One supermarket tomato is just about the same as the next. On the other hand, the produce available at a farmer’s market has a lot to offer. Here are 5 reasons to do so:
- Fresh is best: Farmer’s market produce is at the peak of freshness, possibly even picked that very morning. And fresh produce is packed with health-boosting antioxidants and phytonutrients.
- Taste: When it comes to flavor, farmer’s markets rule the roost. Everyone has eaten the supermarket tomato that tastes like Styrofoam; you won’t have that problem at a farmer’s market.
- Variety: Where the supermarket may offer five types of the most popular tomatoes, varieties at a farmer’s market are limited only by the tastes and personalities of the growers.
- Personal Touch: Because the stalls at farmer’s markets are usually staffed by the farm workers themselves, they are a great place to try something new. When you see a vegetable you don’t normally eat (kohlrabi? garlic scapes?) ask the seller for ideas on how best prepare your new find.
- Stock Up: When tomatoes are in season, you can get quantities of them at very reasonable prices. That’s the time to try your hand at home canning. You can also find items with a longer shelf-life, like jams and honey, and enjoy them all winter long.
If you do decide to test the waters of your local farmer’s market, don’t be put off by the occasional bruised apple. Bruised fruit is not less nutritious than its flawless (but tasteless) supermarket cousin. A final tip: when going to a farmer’s market, bring cash. Small bills are always appreciated.