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Chris graduated from Georgia State University in 2009 with degrees in Journalism and Creative Writing. He has spent a lot of time working with the media. From engineering radio broadcast for most of Atlanta’s major sports teams to shooting high school football games behind a camera, Chris has a lot of media experience. Besides that, he loves soccer, detective shows, and a buffet list of 'nerdy' things that would embarrass his wife.

The Farmers Market: 3 Reasons to Indulge in a Local Adventure

Sometimes the meaning of the word “adventure” is lost in the stereotypical images we have in our heads. Many see it as a once-in-a-while thrill, or something that we would have to travel far away from home to experience. However, we shouldn’t overlook the little things that can really add pleasure and value to our lives. Perhaps the simple “adventure” of visiting a local farmers market will help to redefine our perceptions of what the word really means.

best farmers markets in america

The Portland Farmers Market was voted one of the top 15 American farmers markets by Fodor’s Travel in 2014. (Image Credit: Portland Farmers Market via Facebook)

With the number of local markets more than tripling over the past 20 years, it’s much easier these days to find one nearby. In fact, a trip to an actual grocery store has become less and less integral to the shopping needs of the average consumer. Many people are turning to farmers markets to, at the very least, avoid purchasing the processed foods that so often contain various artificial ingredients, high volume of sugars, and little to no nutritional value.

With high-quality, hand-picked foods on sale, it’s really no wonder that farmers markets have increased in presence and popularity during that time span. However, there’s plenty of other things besides nutrition to indulge in:

More Than a Feeling

Who really knows what their fruits or meats taste like? One of the misconceptions people have about farm-fresh foods is that they lack any real taste. But with so many additives in the packaged foods found at the traditional grocery store, it should be argued that those foods don’t really taste like their supposed to at all. Plus, when you’re shopping at a farmers market, the food is often coming straight from the producers as most markets have regulations that keep out any other type of sellers. This means that shoppers can feel great knowing that their purchases haven’t been manufactured or altered in any way.

Not to mention that buying directly from the farmer helps the community and strengthens the agriculture of that area. Many people don’t realize just how little most farmers traditionally get paid by these big manufacturers. However, knowing that your dollars are actually contributing to the betterment of the local economy is a reward in itself.

More Than Just a Market Place

Just about everyone knows what types of products they will find at a farmers market, but many don’t actually realize just how diverse their other offerings can be. Aside from produce, cut meats, and artisan goods, shoppers are also likely to find various forms of entertainment. Many times, these markets will partner with non-profits or local artists to help provide a great family-friendly atmosphere.

Some markets, like the Charleston Farmers Market and Sante Fe Farmers Market, offer schedules for a number of musical acts and movie screenings, while others like Chicago’s Green City Market offer educational programs and chef demonstrations. On occasion, you might even find a festival or two that will make a morning or afternoon at the market seem more like the highlight of a long work week, or an exciting day out with the family at a local park.

More Than Just One Place

Sometimes our desires for indulgences are simply not convenient. There used to be some worry that to find a farmers market, you would need to travel from the country to the city, or vice versa. However, with so many popping up around the country, you’re more likely to accidentally stumble across one than not. And with so many, you’re likely to find a day or time that fits perfectly into your schedule. For example, if you were living in the DC area, you’d have well over 200 options for buying local.

If you’re looking for a market that’s convenient to you, the best (and most economical) way to find one might not be just driving around town until you see the signs. Instead, try visiting an online directory like this one from the USDA. You are bound to find some that are open in the Fall and Winter, as well as ones that are open in the warmer months, or even year round.

With no two markets featuring exactly the same products, perhaps shopping around can lead to even more great adventures?

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