2. Stimulate local economy. Money spent at a farmers market stays in the local economy. Local farmers are not paying third parties for national advertising campaigns. When you put food on the table from the farmers market, you help small farmers put food on their tables.
3. Save the earth. Often local farmers use less chemicals on their food than large commercial farms. Be sure to ask, though about farming practices - or you can read about some local farmers here. Another way shopping locally saves the earth is that it uses less petroleum. These veggies have not been shipped thousands of miles to get to your grocery store.
4. Teach children. Once I saw a TV episode of Jamie Oliver go into a classroom and ask the elementary aged children to identify various veggies. It was embarrassing. Many could not give the name of a potato. But I'm assuming all those children could identify potato chips.
5. The food tastes better. You won't find strawberries like these at Kroger - local strawberries are uh-may-zing. It tastes better because it has not been picked too early then spent days on a truck. Many of the farmers offer samples - or would be delighted to give a sample if you just ask. If you don't know what to do with a particular food, ask what they would do with it.
6. Buy healthy food. Chances are, you won't find processed food at the market. Farmers market food is food you can feel good about snacking on as you drive home. I've been guilty of eating a whole quart of blueberries before I pulled in my driveway.
7. Meet people. Farmers become your friends. Pictured above is Larry Kichler and his honey (his wife and that from bees:). My 7 year old son loves stopping to talk with Larry, especially when the bees are present. And I've run into many non-farming acquaintances at the market, too. Last spring I bumped into a friend I had not seen in about 15 years. We knew each other in college; she was from Hawaii, I was from Kentucky and we loved on children at a camp in Ohio. Small world that we both ended up in central Arkansas.
8. Enjoy outdoors. I love being outside. What's not to love about shopping outside?
9. Learn a new veggie. For the first time I feasted on a lemon cucumber because of the farmers market. Take home some bok choy. Robert from Willow Springs Market Garden sent me home with minutina greens this past Saturday. You also learn what is "in season" and what could grown in your own garden.
10. Try something new. Saturday I bought a bar of Tammy Sue's shampoo. I have been on the hunt for a toxin-free shampoo that doesn't leave my hair feeling like straw. My quest for shampoo is over. I love Tammy's shampoo bar.
11. Support a good cause. Every Saturday is a mixed bag - you never know which vendors you will see. One Saturday last summer there were a couple of young women desiring to go to Bee Keeper's conference in the northeast (was it Vermont or Maine?). They had baked a cute assortment of cookies in the likeness of bees in hopes of raising money. Of course we had to support their cause. My son was so happy to see the bee cookies.