Just about everyone understands by now that Washington farmers markets are one of the best places to find great local produce. Also they are great places to socialize, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you buy, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment in many cases.
Washington farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, plus they happen in your own home town, so you don't need to travel far to locate them. They have 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 Washington, IN
The advantages of shopping at your local Washington farmers market are many. First, you know the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, since they come directly from the farm to the market. Many crops available at these markets are organically grown, so you know your family and friends won't be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Washington farmers markets are great for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which can help reduce 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 fewer emissions into the air.
Typically, prices are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer doesn't have to mark up his prices to make money from a wholesaler, who marks up the prices again before they get to the supermarket. So, you are actually paying less cash for a much better product, and who doesn't like that?
These markets benefit Washington farmers, as well, since they have a weekly (or daily) market to attract customers, plus they do not have to ship their products days or weeks in advance at low cost, therefore they make a better profit, too. It's always better to purchase from local Washington 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 Washington Farmers Market
Farmers markets in most cases run from late May or early June through September or October, based 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. Washington 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 so 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 Washington Farmers Market
You will be sure to find local Washington farms offering their products at good 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 offer 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 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 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 Washington farmer market or two, and come home with everything else you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.