Find a Local Farmers Market in MA
Just about everybody knows by now that Massachusetts farmers markets are one of the best places to find great local produce. Fortunately they are also great places to socialize, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you buy, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment in many cases.
Massachusetts 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 discover them. They've 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 Massachusetts
The advantages of shopping at your local Massachusetts farmers market are many. First, you know the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, because they come directly from the farm to the market. The majority of crops for sale at these markets are naturally grown, so you know your family and friends will not be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Massachusetts farmers markets are good 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 from using less fuel and contributing a lower number of emissions into the air.
Generally, 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 prior to them getting to the supermarket. So, you are actually paying less of your budget for a much better product, and who does not like that?
These markets profit Massachusetts farmers, as well, because they have a weekly (or daily) market to appeal to customers, and they don't have to ship their products days or even weeks beforehand at low cost, so they make a better profit, too. It's always better to buy from local MA 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 Massachusetts 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. Actually it all depends upon the growing season in your area and when farmers can get their first products to market. Massachusetts 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 can find a schedule from your local Cooperative Extension or county agricultural board, too. They've already become quite popular, in fact, that some communities 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 Massachusetts Farmers Market
You will be sure to find local Massachusetts farms promoting 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 offer you 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 Massachusetts farmer market or two, and come home with everything else you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.