Find a Local Farmers Market in AL
Just about everyone should know by now that Alabama farmers markets are one of the best places to find great local produce. Also they are great places to interact socially, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you purchase, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment in many cases.
Alabama farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, and they occur right in your own home town, so you don't have to journey far to locate them. They have been going on for years in some locations, but they have gotten popular in the last few years, so you should be able to find one not far from home!
The Benefits of Farmers Markets in Alabama
The benefits of shopping at your local Alabama farmers market are many. First, you know the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, because they come directly from the farm to the market. The majority of crops available at these markets are organically grown, so you know your family and friends won't be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Alabama farmers markets are good for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which can help reduce global warming, and usually, farmers do not have to drive too far to the market, so the environment gets another boost while using less fuel and contributing a lower number of pollutants in the air.
Often, prices are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer does not need to mark up his prices to make money from a wholesaler, who marks up the prices again before they get to the supermarket. So, you're actually paying less of your budget for a far better product, and who doesn't like that?
These markets benefit Alabama farmers, as well, given that they have a weekly (or daily) market to attract customers, and they don't need to ship their products days or weeks in advance at low cost, so they make a better profit, too. It's always safer to purchase from local AL farms, since the money stays in the local economy, and that means more jobs and profitability - all from buying fresh local produce!
Finding Your Local Alabama Farmers Market
Farmers markets usually run from late May or early June through September or October, according to where you live and your climate. Actually it all depends on the growing season in your area and when farmers can get their first products to market. Alabama farmers markets are such a big deal now, that usually local newspapers will print a schedule of markets in your area as the season is about to begin.
Often, you'll find a schedule from your local Cooperative Extension or county agricultural board, too. They've become so popular, in fact, that some communities get to enjoy a number of farmers markets every week, so it pays to shop all of them and choose the ones that provide the produce and other products you like the best.
What to Look for at a Alabama Farmers Market
You are sure to find local Alabama farms promoting their products at good prices, but there are a few things to look out for. Make sure the produce is ripe and hasn't been sitting out in the sun too long, or has been damaged in transport. Nearly all booths will offer you a free taste of whatever you're looking at, so you can check out new flavors and crops you might not have had a chance to experience before.
Some farmers may also offer you recipes and other ideas on how to serve their products, too. At the really big markets, organizers may bring in free entertainment, arts and crafts booths, and other amusements to bring in the crowds, and they may even provide play areas for the kids, too.
Look for other items at your farmers market, too. Sometimes local meat, cheese, and dairy producers bring their wares, and big markets are more like a county fair, with food booths, information booths, and even games for the whole family. So, check out a local Alabama farmer market or two, and come home with everything else you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.