Not Your Average Shopping Experience
The Farmers Market is not the place you go for your plastic nick nack or item you don’t need, but bought because the label was yellow or orange and signalled ‘reduced item’. The Farmers Market is much more of a sensory overload and well worth the trip.
1. Local People Benefiting
The local Farmers Market is for local people. Supporting the great work people do everyday. The “Locals”!
You get to see the benefits of where your money is going and get to choose who to give it too right there and then. There is little mystery unlike you find in a giant supermarket or conglomerate. Your money is not going to profiteering or off shore accounts that don’t benefit anyone.
The Farmers Market is the place where your money talks loudest too. If there is a product which you and others don’t like or think is appropriate, it will be dropped purely by the buying power of the local attendees.
When you are next at a Farmers Market, watch where you spend your money and notice who it is benefiting, it will gladden your heart.
2. Community Spirit
The Farmers Market is a community maker. You mingle with people from your local area. People you may never have seen before or spoken too. They may be there every week.
No longer the grey person sat at home. You are part of a community of people sharing your knowledge, patter and wealth with other local people. You have a common ideology and you are making the Farmers Market the place to be.
Remember how it felt when someone was all alone at a party. You see them standing there looking awkwardly looking around. Then you see someone else include them, talk to them and make them feel special. That’s community for you. Investing in those around you not only lightens their day, but according to studies also lifts our own spirits.
3. Experts on Hand
Why go to a shop when you can visit a Farmers Market for an EXPERTS view. How many times have you had free advice without asking. Like buying a fresh piece of locally sourced meat fresh from the farm and the Stall Owner asks what you are going to make with it.
Stall owners go out of their way to suggest new ways of cooking food, what spices to add, and if they know someone else, they’ll recommend them for you to visit. Learn how to roast your rump or steam your beans from the experts who know their business.
Seen the lady at the soap stall? Ask her what she recommends for dry hair or a relaxing nights sleep. You’ll be amazed at the advice. Walking Wikipedia’s with specialist subject knowledge, are what Stall Owners are.
4. Seasonal Foods
One place where you will eat with the seasons is the Farmers Market. In tune with our bodies, the turnips and brussel sprouts emerge for the winter and the lush lettuce and spinach appear for the summer. This seasonal eating has been shown to improve our ability to “cope” with the season we are in. Visit Eat the Seasons or Seasonal Fruit to learn more.
Equally eating seasonal foods, means that the foods are local to you. If you are indulging in a cherries in the depths of winter then it came from a place that was far far away or was brought up in an artificial environment. There is so much to eat to match eat season, the Farmers Market will introduce you to foods that you may have forgotten even existed.
Don’t let the “easy” option be the lowest common denominator for your choice of food. Rather choose foods that will sustain you and awaken your taste buds. Of course you don’t need to live like a Monk who has taken a vow of abstinence from sugar, but try changing it up a little. There’s more to eating a banana every day!
5. Reduce the Carbon
I am aware that this is debatable but that’s why you are still reading. Reducing carbon emissions is key to saving our planet. More journeys mean more carbon, so if I need to bring a tomato from Spain so I can have a salad tonight I have contributed to those emissions – because I paid, I voted for it!
Instead, have something local tonight. The journey will be shorter, the produce fresher and it may just be a little different from what you normally eat.
Take your bike, walk, use the train or bus. You are not buying for the next month, you are buying to eat for the next few days. You don’t need to buy lots of food when you buy wholesome food. Less bulking agents and more real produce allows your bodies to digest it slower.
Plus the exercise will be great. Oh, and no moaning about the weather – it’s only a poor choice of clothes that causes all the upset! You don’t hear ducks complaining!
6. Reputation at Stake!
When visiting a Farmers Market you have to realise every stall owners reputation is at stake. Last year when visiting a local market I bought some lorne sausage (a square sausage made in Scotland). The stall I purchased it from had some really interesting flavours and the owner was willing to talk about what he was doing and making.
After getting home and frying the lorne sausage it produced a cup and a half of fat and left a small amount of meat. Needless to say I returned the following week and discussed this with the stall owner who was highly embarrassed and gave me another packet to try free of charge.
The Farmers Market is a place for Stall Owners to uphold their reputation. If you are unhappy you can return and discuss the matter. If it is unresolved you can avoid that stall and choose another in its place. The buying power the customer has is key to ensuring the best products and best service is sought.
Earlier in the article we said that the marketplace was great for community, but it is the ideal for networking. If you meet others who talk about products you might be interested in. There may be opportunities to have your own products stocked by a Stall Owner.
The networking doesn’t just stop there. Meeting people in the market place can lead to further contacts and further business within a field completely different to what you went for.
I recently went to buy some vegetables only to end up speaking to the barista and find out he runs a company that deals with company days out. That leads to more business for him and another contact for me to pass on.
Get talking, its the OLD form of social media!
8. Taste bud Extravaganza
What a place to try new flavours, smell interesting foods, see your meal being prepared over hot coals or from a hot pot in front of you. Even now my taste buds are watering writing this as I think about the flame grilled burger I had recently over an open coal fire. It had cheese melted over the top and it tasted delicious.
There were flavours from Thailand too, some curry ready meals a Stall Owner had made, and fresh hot soup for the chilly damp day we had. All those smells and tastes make the Farmers Market the place to try some special street food.
I really like it when you have a pop up event too. To try new flavours for a short while and then its gone.
9. Alzheimer BEWARE!
It is a well known fact that mental stimulation is one key element in combating or delaying the onset of Alzheimer and dementia. Of course doing the daily crossword or Sudoku puzzle is stimulating to a degree, but try a Farmers Market for stimulation.
The cognitive processes required to navigate and find what you are looking for, the purchase price, the barter, the change you are given from payment. These are all cognitive. Then there is the talking stimulation among other people, an environment where there is noise, smells and movement. Your senses are all in action when visiting a market.
Last but not least and one I wanted last because this word really encompasses everything before it and also has it’s own meaning.
There is variety in a Farmers Market. From the foods and stalls to the people attending. No two will be alike and they are each “one-offs”. There will be different conversations, different meetings and more networking opportunities one week to the next.
The ability to choose from the variety available will get your brain working. You’ll need to think of new recipes, talk about different ways of cooking, and learn that Rosemary soap is invigorating, but also antibacterial!
To sum up the 10 things you didn’t know about the Farmer’s Market in one word would have to be Number 10 – Variety. Support your local community and enjoy the experience of being in a marketplace. Take the hour out of your busy life to try a new flavour or buy fresh locally sourced meat product. Perhaps the vegetables are the main reason for visiting and savour the flavours of crunchy fresh local food that is ready for the pot and delicious tonight.
#eatrighttonight and enjoy your next Farmers Market.