1. The food is better – when I say better I mean fresher. The produce has usually been picked in the last day or the last few days. The produce is picked when it’s ready to be picked, instead of being picked early so that it ripens along the way.
2. Less waste – when you’re in the grocery store you put all your produce in separate little bags and then they get bagged again. At the farmer’s market if you don’t bring your own bag your produce will be put into as few plastic bags as possible. If you go a couple of times, you’ll feel guilty enough wasting bags that you’ll probably start bringing your own. I use my used plastic bags again for garbage. I don’t buy garbage bags separately.
3. Know thy farmer – you know who is growing your food and how they are growing the food. Just ask. They are happy to talk to you.
4. Social time – I don’t know about you, but I like the congeniality of farmers markets. People are generally cheery and social. You can get some good cooking ideas and tips. Maybe you’ll even make some friends.
5. Outside time – if you commit to going to the farmer’s market every week, you’re forced to be outside. (Well, at least when the market is outside). I’ve gone when it’s raining, freezing cold, and when it’s hot and sticky. Each week is a little different, but it’s nice to enjoy whatever weather you’re having while you shop.
6. Cutting out the middleman – I don’t know if shopping at farmer’s markets is cheaper. I think it is because I waste less food and I am motivated to eat all my food. In any case, you cut out the middlemen in your food supply chain. Again, less waste, probably less money, and you know what’s happening to your food.
There are probably a million other reasons to shop at farmers markets. Feel free to add to the list in the comments section.