Just about everyone should know by now that Portage farmers markets are among the best places to find great local produce. Fortunately they are also great places to make friends, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you buy, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment in many cases.
Portage farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, and they also happen 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 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 Portage, IN
The benefits of shopping at your local Portage farmers market are many. First, you are assured the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, as they come directly from the farm to the market. Many crops for sale at these markets are naturally grown, so you know your friends and family will not be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Portage farmers markets are good for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which can help relieve 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 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 before they get to the supermarket. So, you're actually paying less cash for a far better product, and who doesn't like that?
These markets profit Portage farmers, as well, given that they have a weekly (or daily) market to bring in customers, and they do not have to ship their products days or even weeks in advance at low cost, so they make a better profit, too. It's always safer to buy from local Portage 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 Portage Farmers Market
Farmers markets in most cases run from late May or early June through September or October, depending 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. Portage 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've already become quite 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 Portage Farmers Market
You are sure to find local Portage farms selling 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. Most 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 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 Portage farmer market or two, and come home with everything else you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.