Find a Local Farmers Market in MI
Just about everyone understands by now that Michigan farmers markets are one of the best places to find great local produce. They're also great places to make friends, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you buy, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment on most occasions.
Michigan farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, and they also take place in your home town, so you don't have to journey far to discover them. They've been going on for years in some locations, but they've 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 Michigan
The advantages of shopping at your local Michigan farmers market are many. First, you are assured the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, because they come directly from the farm to the market. Many crops for sale at these markets are naturally grown, so you know your family and friends won't be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Michigan farmers markets are good for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which will help minimize global warming, and usually, farmers do not have to drive too far to the market, so the environment gets another boost while using less fuel and contributing less emissions in 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 will be actually paying less of your budget for a far better product, and who doesn't like that?
These markets benefit Michigan farmers, as well, since 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, therefore they make a better profit, too. It's always safer to buy from local MI farms, because the money stays in the local economy, and that means more jobs and profits - all from buying fresh local produce!
Finding Your Local Michigan 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. Michigan 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 get to 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 Michigan Farmers Market
You will be sure to find local Michigan 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. 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 may also 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 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 Michigan farmer market or two, and come home with everything you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.