Just about everyone should know by now that Tampa farmers markets are among the best places to find great local produce. Fortunately they are also great places to socialize, taste test new, fresh ingredients before buying, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment on most occasions.
Tampa farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, and they also occur right 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 have become popular in the last few years, so you should be able to find one not far from home!
The Benefits of Farmers Markets in Tampa, FL
The benefits of shopping at your local Tampa farmers market are many. First, you are assured the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, since they come directly from the farm to the market. The majority of crops available for sale at these markets are naturally grown, so you know your friends and family won't be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Tampa farmers markets are great for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which can help alleviate global warming, and usually, farmers do not have to drive too far to the market, so the environment gets another boost by using less fuel and contributing less pollutants into the air.
Typically, prices are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer does not need 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're actually paying less of your budget for a much better product, and who does not like that?
These markets profit Tampa farmers, as well, given that they have a weekly (or daily) market to appeal to customers, and in addition 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 Tampa farms, because the money stays in the local economy, and that means more jobs and earnings - all from buying fresh local produce!
Finding Your Local Tampa Farmers Market
Farmers markets generally run from late May or early June through September or October, depending on where you live and your climate. Really it all is dependent upon the growing season in your area and when farmers can get their first products to market. Tampa 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 will find a schedule from your local Cooperative Extension or county agricultural board, too. They've already 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 Tampa Farmers Market
You are sure to find local Tampa farms offering 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. Nearly all booths will give 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 Tampa farmer market or two, and come home with everything else you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.