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Spring Into Your Local Farmers' Markets
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With summer in full bloom, there’s nothing quite like a bowl of berries fresh from the farm. Thankfully, with the number of farmers’ markets increasing across the US, getting farm fresh produce is easier than ever.
Why Farmers’ Markets?
While the number of available farmers’ markets is on the rise, many consumers don’t know what the hype is all about. Here are some of the benefits that farmers’ market customers have reported:
Farmers Market Alternatives
While cash was once king, nowadays many consumers deal only with plastic. Some farmers’ markets do accept credit cards or food stamps for payment, but many still run solely on cash. Thankfully, grocery stores have taken note of this growing trend, beefing up their produce, dairy, meat, and bakery departments, with a real focus on local and fresh merchandise. These farmers’-market–focused grocery stores are popping up in neighborhoods across the country, offering healthy merchandise as well as the convenience of credit cards with cash back on groceries.
Another option is to buy directly from the farm. Many farms and produce stands have updated their accepted forms of payment in recent years to help accommodate the credit card consumer. Larger operations tend to have websites, making it easy to locate and contact the produce farms in your area. It’s recommended that you make a quick call before hopping in the car to verify that they’ll accept credit as a form of payment.
And if you’re looking for ultimate freshness and convenience, you can also research available CSA (community-supported agriculture) opportunities in your area. With a CSA, you purchase a share of a farm’s production and in exchange receive a box of produce or other farm-grown items on a regular basis (often weekly or biweekly). The subscription is charged to your provided credit card and often the food is delivered directly to your neighborhood or even your doorstep. This provides you the farmers’ market goods without having to worry about crowds at the market or having to make an ATM run for cash. CSAs also help local farmers by providing financial security. Just keep in mind that because your farm goods are literally farm fresh, what you receive will be dependent upon what’s ripe and ready to harvest, so if you have a specific dish in mind, you may still need to stop by the store.
Finding the Option Best for You
Whether you’re looking for the authentic farmers’ market experience, or simply looking to provide healthy meals for your family that are environmentally and wallet friendly, there are several options that are now available to the American shopper. Finding the options that are best for you may be as simple as spending a couple of minutes online. If an internet search isn’t producing the results you’re looking for, don’t forget to visit the USDA National Farmers Market Directory, which not only lists markets by zip code but also includes information regarding the accepted forms of payment at the market.
(Research by Kelly; Writing by Meghan)
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