In Indonesia, we could buy fresh fruits and veggies daily at a traditional market, but not here in US (or if its too general, in New Bedford that is). The traditional market or farmers market is only happening every Summer, starting by early July until September. In a farmers market you can buy local produces that are coming from local farmers. Expect to see colors of bountiful seasonal veggies and fruits: zucchini, radishes, sweet potatoes, green beans, blueberries, lettuces, etc….! So fresh and looked very REAL – unlike the ones that we usually see at supermarket, the produces from farmers market are usually looked “ugly” (some are freshly picked).
In New Bedford and surrounding area (Dartmouth and Fairhaven), farmers market are located in different areas. Let’s say in Downtown New Bedford it’s Thursdays from 2 to 6 PM in Wings Court, Mondays in Brooklawn Park from noon to 4 PM, and Sundays in Fairhaven High School from 1 to 4 PM. Go to SEMAP (South Eastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership) page for details.
Tips if you’re going to farmers market:
- Note down some new veggies that you never heard of before. You can either ask the farmer or search for the recipes first. Next time you come to farmers market, you have the idea what to do with the veggies ( or fruits too)
- Bring lots of cash! Since they don’t accept card. Also, the price of fruits and veggies (and many other local produces like free-range eggs, raw honey, flowers, etc) are a bit higher compare to those in big grocery stores….But really, nutritionally speaking, those produces that are coming from local farmers are much more nutritious than the ones that are imported from California, China, Brazil, Mexico, Ecuador, yada…yada. The tastes are so different, you can taste the differences once you tried to compare.
- Bring your own bag!
- Have a chit-chat with farmers: You can meet directly with the farmers itself and ask about the stuffs they’re grown in their farm, what recipes that good from a specific veggies, …ask anything..! Or if you’re not sure what to buy, going around in a farmers market could be very refreshing. I like the atmosphere and the people who come to farmers market, usually they are more enviro-ducated ( I just made that word, hehe).
Reasons why shop at a farmers market? (source from here)
1. Buying Locally
Buying from your local farmer allows you to support local agriculture. This means that the food you are eating comes from nearby, and does not require us to waste lots of energy and petroleum to ship the food half-way around the world. You are eating food in your own environment, where it has perfectly-created nutrients for your specific climate and region. You are also supporting the environment by reducing the usage of fossil fuels.
2. Affordable Organic Fruits & Veggies
You can find a variety of fresh, organic produce at more affordable prices than in a supermarket. There are also many farmers that carry products that are not technically “organic,” (as this is a costly and often bureaucratic-heavy process), but have many low-priced foods that are pesticide and herbicide free. The advantage at a farmers market is that you can actually talk to the farmer, learn about their methods, and then decide for yourself and in most cases they will allow you to come and visit their farm.
3. Supporting Your Local Economy & Farmers
You are supporting human beings and the local economy, not massive agribusiness GMO food conglomerates. Not only will your money be staying in your area, but you will happily please the farmer that worked to grow that food. Your belly will remember the farmer’s smile as they handed you that juicy peach.
4. Eat Seasonally
By shopping at the local farmers market, you will eat seasonally, fresh and ripe. This is another great way to increase your overall health. Supermarkets offer too much variety and the food is picked before it has ripened decreasing the vitality. The body does not need to be eating imported pineapple in the dead of winter!
5. Safer Foods
Food from your local farmers market is generally safer. Remember the recent outbreaks of E. coli in bagged spinach? These things happen mostly in large industrial settings, where business-men work to mass produce food, preserve it and bag it in mass amounts.
6. Fresher Fruits & Veggies
The food from your local farmers market is, quite frankly, fresher. Because it was grown locally, there is a good chance that the apple you buy from the farmer was picked a few days ago. This is virtually impossible in a big supermarket.
7. Great Variety
There is usually an amazing variety of fruits and veggies at your local farmers market. Each farmer may have his own method for growing tomatoes or peppers. This is something that never happens at a grocery store.
8. Better Taste
There is no doubt that locally-grown foods just simply taste better. You will never be able to eat a carrot from the grocery store again!
9. It’s Healthy!
There’s just no way around it, eating fresh, locally-grown fruits and veggies are great for your health. Buy yourself some local honey, which is sold at most local farmer markets. It has just the right components for allergy prevention in your neck of the woods, not to mention it’s tasty!
10. Most Importantly — it’s Fun!
We stated it in the beginning, but farmers markets are just plain fun for the whole family. Meeting your local community is an excellent way to feel connected to the world around you, increasing health for body, mind and spirit.