Just about everyone should know by now that Boston farmers markets are one of the best places to find great local produce. Also they are great places to interact socially, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you buy, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment on most occasions.
Boston farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, plus they take place right in your 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 Boston, MA
The benefits of shopping at your local Boston farmers market are many. First, you are assured the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, as they come straight from the farm to the market. Most 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, Boston 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 don't need to drive too far to the market, so the environment gets another boost by using less fuel and contributing a lower number of 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 prior to them getting to the supermarket. So, you are actually paying less cash for a much better product, and who doesn't like that?
These markets benefit Boston farmers, as well, because they have a weekly (or daily) market to bring in customers, and they don't need to ship their products days or even weeks beforehand at low cost, so they make a better profit, too. It's always safer to purchase from local Boston 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 Boston Farmers Market
Farmers markets usually run from late May or early June through September or October, based 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. Boston 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 so 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 Boston Farmers Market
You are sure to find local Boston 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 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 will 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 Boston farmer market or two, and come home with everything you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.