Farmers Markets Are the Way to Go

This past weekend I went to a farmer’s market with my parents. I didn’t know what to expect going into it. It was right in the middle of downtown St. Paul, and the only thing I had been to that’s remotely close to a farmer’s market was a flea/bargain market that goes on back in my small hometown. 

So my parents and I parked in a small lot and walked barely a block to the market area. We were immediately greeted by the brightest, most beautiful bouquet of flowers. My mom and I stopped to stare. My mom kept repeating, “These are gorgeous.” We were in awe. 

These bright purple and white flowers greet people when they first arrive at the farmer’s market. Photo by Ally Gall.

We continued strolling down the stone brick path, stopping every few steps to soak in the things around us. There were potatoes, peppers, carrots, garlic, apples, squash, pumpkins and a million more things. Everything was a bright color, calling to you to buy and eat it. I ended up getting some bell peppers, potatoes, apples and ears of corn.

Colorful gourds and pumpkins wait patiently to be bought and taken home. Photo by Ally Gall.

But they had more than that. My absolute favorite part of it was the succulent plant that I bought. Getting succulents has been on my to-do list for a while because I wanted something that I could take care of that was low-maintenance. And I was finally able to get one!

What made this experience even better is the reason why I think everyone should shop at farmer’s markets. First, you’re buying local. That means you’re helping out a family or an individual who’s doing something they enjoy. Secondly, you’re buying fresh! Aside from already being exposed to, and wanting to buy healthy food, you’re guaranteed that it’s going to be fresh food. Sometimes you can go to the grocery store and they’ve got some fruit and vegetables that don’t look great. At a farmer’s market, things are going to look and be fresh, because, chances are, it was all recently harvested. And it doesn’t need to be shipped from another state.

Bright yellow and green gourds are displayed, a great deal on getting a few. Photo by Ally Gall.

Third, you get to go outside! Sometimes when we’re super busy, it’s really hard to go outside and enjoy the fresh air, especially in a gorgeous season like fall. Going to a farmer’s market gets you buying some groceries and gets you outside. It’s a win-win, really. 

Finally, you get to save some money. I don’t think I saw anything priced over $10. You can get healthy options for only a couple of dollars. Grocery stores don’t always have that; sometimes a small container of fruit can be $5.

So, I’ve got some tips for you, when you go on your farmer’s market adventure.

First, bring cash. Thankfully my parents and I had cash on us, otherwise, it would have been pretty hard to buy things. The one we went to had an ATM, but those can be a hassle to use. I didn’t see many vendors (if any) that had a card reader on them. So, make sure to stop at the bank or a no-fee ATM to grab some cash. 

We all love the earth, don’t we? So bring your own bag! The vendors have small plastic bags they can give you, but bringing your own bag means you don’t need to use that plastic. Plus, you don’t have to add to that already huge collection of plastic bags you have taking up space under your kitchen sink. 

Last, talk with the vendors. Ask them questions about their products. There was one man we spoke to who was selling apples and he was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful about what kind we should buy and what would taste good in certain kinds of dishes. 

Farmer’s markets are easy to find: all you need to do is google. So, open up a new search, and find a farmer’s market that’s close to you. You’ll be surprised by how many there are, and what they may have. Happy hunting!