The Four W’s of Farmer’s Markets

 

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Image is courtesy of Sira Anamwong at freedigitalphotos.net

It’s Farmer’s Market season at the WIC office! And this means that for the next few months we’ll all be really busy talking with clients about the benefits of farmer’s markets. We also give vouchers for fruits and vegetables for those on WIC and collaborate with Lynn’s local farmer’s market to help our community. It’s a win-win situation for every one involved. This year we’re even giving out seeds to encourage young children to grow their own garden.

What a great way to teach our children about food! So, what are the four W’s of a farmer’s market?

What is a Farmer’s Market?

According to the Farmer’s Market Coalition a farmer’s market is a group of local farmer’s or their representatives who gather in public to sell their produce “directly to consumers”.

It’s also a chance to get to meet your local farmers, talk to them about what they’re offering your community, and meet new people. And all this while shopping for fresh fruits and vegetables for your family. Visiting farmer’s markets are also a great summer activity to do with your children.

Where are they located?

Farmer’s markets can be found in cities and towns all over Massachusetts and the United States. In fact the farmer’s market coalition provides three great resources to locate farmer’s markets in the US. The two that I found most helpful are as follows:

1.) The USDA’s Farmer’s Market Directory

2.) EatWellGuide.org

The USDA’s directory works by entering your zip code and adjusting the mileage you’d like to drive. EatWell allows you to enter your state and what you are searching for. Both give you information about every farmer’s market in the area, links to their websites, and other information.

Another helpful tool I recently found was an app for locating farmer’s markets. The Farmstand is an app that uses your location to find farmer’s market in your area. I was able to down load this app for free on iTunes.

What do they sell?

Farmer’s markets go by the season and the area in which you live. As a result what they sell varies from market to market. Most markets will sell fruits and vegetables, but will also sell milk, eggs, cheese, bread, meats/fish.  Some larger ones will even offer non-food items like flowers, herbs, & local crafts.

When  do they set up shop?

Local farmer’s can set up shop based on the season or all year long. I’ve known some farmer’s markets that are around in the winter months, but these are mostly located inside. The majority of farmer’s markets can be found in the spring, summer, and autumn.

The next blog will feature the 9  benefits of farmer’s markets followed by 5 ways farmer’s markets teach kids about food.

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