Find a Local Farmers Market in CA
Just about everybody knows by now that California farmers markets are one of the better places to find great local produce. Fortunately they are also great places to socialize, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you purchase, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment on many occasions.
California 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 discover them. They have been going on for years in some locations, but they have gotten 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 California
The benefits of shopping at your local California 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. Many crops available for sale at these markets are organically grown, so you know your friends and family will not be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, California farmers markets are good for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which can help alleviate global warming, and usually, farmers don't need to drive too far to the market, so the environment gets another boost from using less fuel and contributing fewer pollutants in the air.
Generally, prices are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer does not have to mark up his prices to earn money from a wholesaler, who marks up the prices again before they get to the supermarket. So, you will be actually paying less cash for a much better product, and who doesn't like that?
These markets benefit California farmers, as well, because they have a weekly (or daily) market to attract customers, plus they don't have to ship their products days or weeks beforehand at wholesale prices, therefore they make a better profit, too. It's always safer to purchase from local CA 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 California Farmers Market
Farmers markets primarily run from late May or early June through September or October, based on where you live and your climate. Really it all depends upon the growing season in your area and when farmers can get their first products to market. California 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 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 California Farmers Market
You will be sure to find local California farms selling their products at affordable 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 give you a free taste of whatever you are looking at, so you can check out new flavors and crops you may not have had a chance to experience before.
Some farmers may even supply 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 California farmer market or two, and come home with everything you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.