National Farmers Market Week Q&A

National Farmers Market Week Q&A

15:16 09 August in GreenMarket

While other parts of the country are celebrating National Farmers Market Week because they are in season, we here in South Florida are out of season. Farmers begin planting in September and harvesting in late October early November when our markets are just beginning.  See you in the fall!


Is produce from the farmers market better?
Locally grown produce sold at the farmers market is made available at the peak of freshness and nutrient content. Moreover, when farmers can select plants and animal breeds for superior flavor and quality without having to worry about about shelf life or long-distance shipping, quality and taste improves. You can also find food at the farmers market that most grocery stores don’t stock such as farm-fresh eggs, lamb, duck, or heirloom tomatoes.


When I shop at a farmers market, where does my money go?
At a farmers market, you hand your money to the person who grew or made the products in front of you.  According to the USDA, more than 150,000 farmers, ranchers, and agricultural entrepreneurs are selling quality products directly to consumers.  These direct sales at farmers markets exceeded $1.5 billion nationwide in 2015. A series of case studies by Civic Economics shows that for every dollar we spend at a large chain, about 15 cents stays in the area, while locally owned enterprises like farms trap 30 to 45 cents.


How does shopping at a farmers market help my local economy?

Farmers markets generate business, and business creates jobs. A 2011 Economic Research Service report found that fruit and vegetable farms selling into local and regional markets employ 13 full-time workers per $1 million in revenue earned. Comparatively, fruit and vegetable farms that are not selling locally employed only three full-time workers per $1 million in revenue. Farmers markets also bring business to neighboring stores and communities where the market is located. Spending money at farmers markets keeps your money in circulation within the local community, preserving and creating local jobs.


Why should I shop at a farmers market when my supermarket sells organic, and sometimes even local food?
While some grocery stores do carry a small number of local and organic products, most cannot equal farmers markets in the variety and quality of local foods, let alone guarantee farmers a fair price. In 2017, American farmers receive only 17.4 cents of every dollar American’s spent on food. At farmers markets, farmers head hope with upwards of 90 cents on the dollar. Shopping at a farmers market is also a wholly unique experience where farmers and shoppers get to know each other, do business, and help each other.  Meeting friends and neighbors at the farmers market while shopping and supporting local businesses is just fun. When was the last time you told your friends to meet you in the isle of a grocery store.


What happens to food left over at farmers markets?
Most vendors have a good sense of how much they will sell on any given market day, and prepare for it accordingly. However, if there are leftovers at the end of market, vendors are ready to recycle unsold produce into value-added products. For instance, excess tomatoes become tomato sauce and apples become apple cider. Unsaleable produce can be composted to return nutrients back to the farmers’ fields. In addition, many markets also have donation arrangements with local food banks, soup kitchens, and other social service agencies.