Episode 3 – How Farmer’s Markets Help You Buy Local and Organic

Buying Local and Organic – Go to the Farmers Market

Transcription of Episode 3 – May 10, 2018 – Eating local – How Farmers Markets help your organic lifestyle.

Hello hello and welcome to the Simple Organic Guide show where we talk about everything and anything in the natural and organic living space.

I’m your host Jan Davis coming to you from the Southern Tier of Western New York – today is May 10th 2018 – this is Episode 3.

Have you ever been to a farmer’s market? Well if you haven’t you should.  They’re one of the best places I know of to find the fresh organic foods in your own backyard.

If you don’t know where to find the farmer’s markets in your area, head over to our show notes at simpleorganicguide.com/3.

At the bottom of the page there are several links to help you locate one near you.

What is a farmer’s market?

It’s one location where local vendors get together to sell their wares. It could be farmers, crafters, baker’s, chocolate makers, meat growers etc.

Normally it’s local people selling locally to their community.  There can be many different farmers markets in your area. You just have to look around for days and times.

Why should you shop at a farmer’s market?

Location location location.  Because everything is local and you are supporting your own community. You get the freshest food, flowers, best homemade items – most of the time the prices are quite reasonable, and you get to talk to the creator to know exactly how something is made. No guessing.

What type of items do you find at a farmer’s market?

Well, anything that can be grown or made in your local area. You’ll find in-season fresh fruits and vegetables without a doubt. You also find freshly raised meat, poultry, eggs, milk, milk products, chocolate cookies, craft items, home items, flowers, and the list goes on and on.

Now you know you can find an array of different items at a farmer’s market how is this going to help you buy fresh and organic food easier?

Not everyone who grows food in an organic manner is USDA certified nor do they have to be USDA certified. If producers sell less than five thousand dollars a year in sales they do not need

to be certified through the USDA. This means you have the opportunity to buy fresh organically grown products at a farmer’s market from small producers. Some producers at farmers markets are USDA certified. Normally there will be signs in people’s booths so that you know right away if they’re USDA certified or if they grow in an organic manner but not always and the booths that don’t grow in this manner – they’re not going to tell you anything at all.  So, what do you do? Ask, remember each booth or vendor at a farmer’s market is an independent business. They grow, create, and sell their own products in the manner they choose. So it’s up to you as the consumer to decide who you’re going to buy from and why. The farmer’s market vendors and you become a partnership. They’re growing something you want – you buy it – so talk to the vendors before you buy anything. Get to know the vendors so you know who you trust and who you want to buy from. Asking questions and talking to the vendors is a great idea. You learn who you want to buy from who you trust and who has the same food philosophy as you.

But you want to be a little mindful of some do’s and don’ts before you start questioning vendors. Some are obvious some are not – so here we go.

Don’t bargain unless you have a relationship with the vendor that allows this.
Especially at the beginning of the day when everything is fresh and buyers are plenty. Farmers are there to make a living and you need to respect their hard work. You wouldn’t go to the produce manager at your local grocery store to bargain, would you? Probably not.

Do ask if they have a price break for large quantities or if you order and pay in advance for the following week.

Usually vendors who take orders take it so that it’s a guarantee that you will have what you want. For instance, if you want 20 pounds of potatoes you order it, some have you pay

for it in advance some don’t and then when you show up the following week your order is waiting for you. Some vendors give discounts for ordering advance some don’t.

You’ll also learn which vendors like to bargain at the end of the day because they don’t want to take things back with them. Not all vendors – some vendors have another venue to go to or they have their own market stand in front of their farm where they bring everything back to.  But you’ll notice near the end of the day some vendors will be bargaining a little bit more. But

remember if you wait till the end of the day everything might be gone.

Don’t haggle or complain about the price

Remember you are buying fresh the vendors work very hard to bring you fresh food at the peak of its nutritional value and you cannot beat fresh. Most produce vendors pick fresh in the morning of the market. Meat vendors have their food process for you throughout the year and milk or dairy vendors they make their products daily or weekly to keep peak freshness. If you’re buying crafts you’re buying a handmade item which you cannot compare to anything that is mass-produced.

Do bring your own bags

If you’re going local why not get a little more eco? You can use reusable canvas bags for everything from your individual produce to carrying everything home with you. If you don’t have canvas you can use other reusable bags. And if you don’t have anything most vendors will have something for you to use.

You get to do three things by bringing your own bag

  1. 1) It saves the vendor money on buying them which saves you money in the long run.
  2. 2) You have less to dispose of later.
  3. 3) You’re being a little eco-sensitive. Hey, why not? Then you don’t have to worry about extra bags hanging out.

Don’t argue with a vendor it isn’t worth your time or theirs.

The market is supposed to be a positive energetic place. Yes, sometimes when you ask a question a vendor will not agree with you and want to make a point.  Just listen and move on

Do come with extra cash in an array of small bills

At least until you know the layout of the farmers market. Some have ATMs to get more cash others don’t. Some have an area for vendors to be able to get change easily for large bills others don’t. And some vendors take credit card and debit cards while others don’t.

If you use SNAP or WIC checkscheck with your local farmers market many vendors do you accept them these days.

DO go to the market to learn, buy, and enjoy.

Now you know where to find farmer’s markets in your area why it’s a great idea to go to your local farmers market – plus a few do’s and don’ts while you’re there. It’s time to learn about a

few questions you may ask the vendors prior to buying something.

If a vendor has a USDA certified sign on their booth or the sticker you know the food was created without GMOs and without pesticides. But you can still ask them questions to know if their food philosophy fits into yours. Some farmer’s markets require that everything is produced within a local area which is usually about a hundred miles.  Some do not have these rules.

One of the questions you can ask is everything grown by the vendor or the farmer that you’re talking to?

You’ll learn very quickly what farmers bring products from other places or from other farmers. Sometimes several vendors will run one booth and everyone in the booth can help you. And if they don’t know the answers they will find them for you.

There’s nothing wrong with bringing other vendor’s products. What you want to be mindful of is it local? Are those tomatoes grown locally or they being grown halfway across the country and being shipped and then passed off as being local. Local food is fresher and normally more nutritious than food that comes from hundreds and hundreds of miles away. One the food can

be picked at the peak, not six weeks before it ever ripens.

Another question you may ask is…

How are your products grown?

in the early and late part of the season you’ll be amazed at how many small producers use greenhouses. It’s amazing the great taste you’ll get early and later through the year. If they are using greenhouses you can ask how are they growing? Either hydroponically, which is water aquaponically which is fish or in the ground. Many vendors who do aquaponics or hydroponics will have that listed in their booth, so you can know. But you can still ask what kind of chemicals are used or are there chemicals? These are things that you want to know and have the right to know.

A vendor who does not have anything listed for organic or organically grown you can ask them do you use non-GMO seeds or do use non-GMO growing methods? Do you spray?

If you’re buying meat find out how its raised?

Is it grass-fed beef or is it grass-fed finished on grain? Is it on organic land? There’s so many different types of meat you can buy at a farmer’s market. And many different ways that

it’s raised. If you are looking for meat such as pork because you love bacon but you don’t want dyes or chemicals you may ask if it’s nitrate free? If they say oh we just use a tiny bit of nitrate. Don’t go with it because a tiny bit of chemicals is always a tiny bit too much!

Most vendors will be very open with you and honest with you.

You may get some answers like we only spray before the plant blooms. Or we only splay the dirt before we plant. They’re still using chemicals. Remember whatever goes into the soil goes into your food. And you don’t want that and if you’re eating organically and naturally.  If a vendor tries to convince you your beliefs or wanting to eat organic food is not founded… They may say things like this is EPA standard or the government approved. Remember GMOs are also government approved. Just listen and move on.

If a vendor doesn’t know if the seeds are non-GMO or not, or says it doesn’t matter if they are not you might want to move on for that too.

Remember the farmers market is a place to enjoy fresh and handmade products from your local area. You’ll get to meet new friends and run into old ones. This is your community and it’s a nice place to buy organic food and enjoy the day.

So go find a farmer’s market in your area this week and enjoy some fresh fruits, vegetables, pick up some handcrafted items, and while you add it try that bakery that’s there, and some of that really good cheese. You will not regret it.

Thank you for hanging out with me today on the Simple Organic Guide.

Remember living in an organic and natural manner doesn’t have to cause insanity and you’re not alone in your quest for organic information and knowledge. It’s your life and live it as you choose.

Have a great day every day

And I’ll see you next week on the Simple Organic Guide show.

Don’t forget to visit our website at simpleorganicguide.com for more articles and information about living naturally and organic.

Please send your questions about organic living to the website at simpleorganicguide.com/contact and fill out the form or email me directly at choices@simpleorganicguide.com.

You can also find us on Instagram and Facebook at @simpleorganicguide and on Twitter @SOGorganicguide.

All links are at the bottom of the show notes at simpleorganicguide.com/3

Have a wonderful wonderful week.

Until next week this is Jan Davis and yes I am definitely stepping out for some fresh air today.

Places to search for Farmer’s Markets.

– Check with your local Chamber of Commerce

https://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/

https://www.ams.usda.gov/local-food-directories/farmersmarkets

Contact me with your questions and comments: choices@simpleorganicguide.com

Leave a comment below. What did you find at your Farmer’s MArket this week?

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