I’ll admit, I’ve always been a bit of a hippie. I use canvas shopping bags on my trips to the grocery store, I will never waste a veggie or fruit (I freeze them before they go bad for smoothies!) and I not-so-subtley used to post notes above my sorority house’s trash cans saying “Please Recycle”. I’m most likely not saving the world, but hey, it’s a step in the right direction, right? Reduce, reuse, recycle, everyone!
It’s probably no surprise that I’m an avid farmer’s market shopper. When I first moved to Charleston, the Mount Pleasant farmer’s market was about 50 yards outside my front door. I remember the first Tuesday that it was open: I jumped for joy and told the girls at work that I had to leave right at 5:00 to make it to the market.
I can be such a dork about my veggies.
You’ve heard the saying and seen the hashtag, “Shop Local,” but do you do it? Sure, I personally may not have the budget to shop in the local Charleston boutiques (TJ Maxx is more my haven), but I can shop local for my produce, and it has it’s benefits.
8 reasons to shop the farmer’s market:
1. It’s budget friendly
Pop Quiz: How much would large carrots, strawberries, and red tomatoes cost at the grocery store? Organic produce would cost you about $15 and if you’re anything like me, you will have to find 30 different ways to cook potatoes so they don’t go bad before you eat them all. Last Tuesday, I bought a bundle of large carrots, local James Island strawberries, and 6 red tomatoes for $7.25. Good enough for me!
2. Farm-to-table freshness
Produce can take weeks to get from the field to the store. Farmer’s market produce comes straight from the field to the selling table allowing it to be bought at it’s peak for flavor and nutrition.
3. Clean eating
How many people have jumped on the clean eating bandwagon? Though most grocery stores now offer an organic section, organic produce comes at a cost. Skip the processing and preservatives.
4. Put those Pinterest recipes to good use
If I’m experimenting with a new recipe, I will ask the farmer’s market stand attendant (sometimes the farmers themselves) what is the best way to store/cook/reheat the specific item. Most of the time they will tell me their favorite food pairings as well!
5. Never over-buy
Living on my own does not always mean I’m able to shop for one. For example, it is a painful task to try to figure out how to make use of an entire bag of red potatoes. I just don’t eat them that often and yet I seem to need them for a recipe every other week. The farmer’s market allows me to buy the 3 potatoes that I need, instead of the entire bag.
6. Think outside of the produce section
A lot of markets will have food that won’t be in the grocery store – like 10 different kinds of heirloom tomatoes!
7. Find local vendors
Most farmer’s markets have more than just produce. It’s a great place to shop local for honey, bread, pasta, seafood, and even cheese. Supporting your local economy has never tasted so good!
8. The inexpensive date night
Clear skies and the smell of zucchini in the air! Okay, it may not be the most romantic place on Earth, but a lot of farmer’s markets can certainly be creative. My local market has live bands, hot pretzels, and snow cones that I just can’t get enough of! Grab a quick bite and some sunshine while you enjoy the live music.