Do you shop at your local farmer’s market?
We are regular shoppers at ours. I have to admit, I used to be the girl that bought everything from Target or Wal-mart or the local grocery store. Yep… meat, veggies, fruit, and everything else came from the bigger stores near my house. But in the last couple years, we’ve shifted our buying habits. It definitely didn’t happen overnight but little by little we’re seeing the benefits to buying locally and/or organic.
The last couple years, we’ve started buying much more of our food locally, especially produce. In fact, it’s safe to say that 90% of our fruits and vegetables from May through November are grown within 15 miles of our house or at my grandparent’s farm in northern Wisconsin. I kind of love that. One of the biggest reasons this is important to us is our health. We know who grows our food and that they aren’t spraying them with chemicals. And as a small business owner, I appreciate that a large percentage of the money I spend will be staying in our local community (as opposed to a larger chain where typically only a fraction of my money stays local). And lastly, it just tastes better. Hubby and I did a taste test with several items we buy frequently. We were amazed at how much better our local purchases tasted.
Confession: I’ve been known to plan my schedule around market day. I’m so disappointed if I’m out of town and have to buy my veggies at the store. Have you ever done a comparison of store-bought baby carrots vs fresh from the garden regular carrots? Try it… you’ll probably never buy baby carrots during the growing season again. And this is coming from the girl who bought baby carrots religiously for years. It’s also fun to try veggies that we’re unfamiliar with. Pattypan squash, kohlrabi, and kale are a few things that I’ve started cooking with in the last year.
If you live in Wisconsin and are looking for a local producer, a great resource is the Farm Fresh Atlas. In addition to listing farmer’s markets for each region of the state, it also lists other places to get great locally-prepared food.
If you live near me in southern Wisconsin, make sure to check out my favorite vendors who sell at the Gays Mills, Viroqua, and Prairie du Chien markets as Austin’s Rush Creek Farms. 🙂
Are you a market shopper? Why? What is your favorite thing about your local market?
Check back later this week for a fun kale chip recipe and a tutorial on making fabric produce bags, perfect for toting your delicious market produce home.