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Top Reasons to Shop at a Farmers Market

Posted by Joyce Hornick, Dietetic Intern and Wendy Wasserman Communications Specialist, USDA in Initiatives Food and Nutrition
Feb 21, 2017
Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide.
Farmers Markets offer in season, local produce to communities nationwide.

Why shop at a Farmers Market?

Access to fresh, locally grown foods, for starters. That may be one of the best reasons, but there are many more. Farmers markets have fruits and vegetables at the peak of the growing season. This means produce is at its freshest and tastes the best. The food is typically grown near where you live, not thousands of miles away or another country. Shopping at farmers markets also supports your local farmers and keeps the money you spend on food closer to your neighborhood. recently filmed a video to promote the benefits of shopping at farmers markets, featuring a registered dietitian as she talks with farmers and customers at the market.  And here’s a sneak peek at our Top 10 Reasons to Shop at Farmers Markets with links to resources to help you find local markets and get the most out of your market experience:

Many farmers markets do paper and plastic

In addition to cash, many farmers markets now accept credit cards, SNAP benefits, and other nutrition benefits.  Just remember to bring your reusable shopping bag!

Something new

Farmers markets feature what’s at the peak of season in your region, so you can often find your favorites, along with new items that will stretch your culinary imagination. Have you ever tasted gooseberries or rhubarb?  Seen a Brussels sprout stalk? Slurped a donut peach?  These are some things you might find (and be able to sample!) at your local farmers market.  Who knows, maybe you will discover some new favorites!

Learn a farmer’s secret

On market day, farmers love to share their secrets. First among them are tips on how to prepare fresh offerings, so if you need to know what to do with kohlrabi or are looking for something to bump up your tomato salsa, just ask.

Follow the rainbow

A great way to eat healthy is to put a spectrum of colorful fruits and vegetables on your plate. They are full of great nutrients, including antioxidants and phytonutrients. The more color variety, the better!

Bring the kids!

Farmers markets are kid-friendly.  Let your kids pick out something new to try. Then, let them help prepare a meal or choose a snack based on what caught their eye.  These cooking resources for kids can help, too.

For more inspiration, check out our Top 10 Reasons to Shop at Farmers Markets. Happy shopping!

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Jeremy Pendleton
Jul 03, 2012

I think it's great that Farmers Markets are starting to get the attention that they deserve. A lot of big companies like Kaiser Permanente and Wholesome Wave have started to help out by providing over 30 Farmers Markets with incentives Programs to make Farmers Markets even better on the West Coast. I live right down the road from a farmers market, I love the food, it's always fresh, and it feels great knowing that I'm helping out the farmers in the area.

Turtle Gunn Toms
Jul 26, 2012

Thanks, USDA, for your commitment to promoting Meatless Mondays. Much easier to do when I shop at my local farmer's market for fresh organic produce. I don't miss the meat at all!

Anna Waclawiczek
Jul 31, 2012

Massachusetts loves its farmers' markets! We now have over 250 across the Commonwealth (which ranks the state 7th in the nation). Farmers' markets can be easily found on our interactive Agri-Google map: Go local!

Luz Montanez
Sep 24, 2020

We been traveling on an RV for the last 3 months. We have found that the most exciting food acquisitions are all in a farmers market. Even during Covid it is an open market full of goodies. You can't go wrong.