Find a Local Farmers Market in AK
Just about everyone understands nowadays that Alaska farmers markets are one of the better places to find great local produce. Fortunately they are also great places to interact socially, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you buy, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment in many cases.
Alaska farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, plus they occur in your home town, so you don't have to travel far to discover them. They've been going on for years in some locations, but they've become more popular in the last few years, so you should be able to find one not far from home!
The Benefits of Farmers Markets in Alaska
The advantages of shopping at your local Alaska farmers market are many. First, you are assured the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, since they come straight from the farm to the market. The majority of crops available for sale at these markets are organically grown, so you know your family and friends won't be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Alaska farmers markets are good for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which can help minimize global warming, and usually, farmers don't have to drive too far to the market, so the environment gets another boost while using less fuel and contributing a lesser number of emissions into the air.
Typically, rates are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer does not need to mark up his prices to generate income from a wholesaler, who marks up the prices again prior to them getting to the supermarket. So, you are actually paying less of your budget for a far better product, and who doesn't like that?
These markets profit Alaska farmers, as well, given that they have a weekly (or daily) market to attract customers, and in addition they don't need to ship their products days or weeks beforehand at wholesale prices, therefore they make a better profit, too. It's always safer to buy from local AK farms, since the money stays in the local economy, and that means more jobs and earnings - all from buying fresh local produce!
Finding Your Local Alaska Farmers Market
Farmers markets primarily run from late May or early June through September or October, depending on where you live and your climate. Really it all depends on the growing season in your area and when farmers can get their first products to market. Alaska farmers markets are such a big deal now, that typically 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 have become very popular, in fact, that some communities 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 Alaska Farmers Market
You are sure to find local Alaska farms offering their wares at sensible 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. Many booths will give 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 Alaska farmer market or two, and come home with everything else you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.