Find a Local Farmers Market in AZ
Just about everyone understands nowadays that Arizona farmers markets are one of the better 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 on many occasions.
Arizona farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, and they take place right in your own home town, so you don't need to travel far to find them. They've been going on for years in some locations, but they've 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 Arizona
The advantages of shopping at your local Arizona farmers market are many. First off, you know the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, as they come straight from the farm to the market. The majority of crops available for sale at these markets are naturally grown, so you know your family and friends won't be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Arizona farmers markets are great for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which can help minimize 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 fewer pollutants into the air.
Generally, rates are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer does not have 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 money for a much better product, and who doesn't like that?
These markets benefit Arizona farmers, as well, given that they have a weekly (or daily) market to bring in customers, and in addition they do not have to ship their products days or even weeks beforehand at low cost, therefore they make a better profit, too. It's always safer to buy from local AZ farms, considering that the money stays in the local economy, and that means more jobs and earnings - all from buying fresh local produce!
Finding Your Local Arizona Farmers Market
Farmers markets usually run from late May or early June through September or October, based 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. Arizona 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 can find a schedule from your local Cooperative Extension or county agricultural board, too. They have become very popular, in fact, that some communities enjoy several 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 Arizona Farmers Market
You are sure to find local Arizona farms promoting their products 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 offer you a free taste of whatever you're looking at, so you can check out new flavors and crops you may not have had a chance to experience before.
Some farmers will even provide you with 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 draw 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 Arizona farmer market or two, and come home with everything you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.