Find a Local Farmers Market in MN
Just about everybody knows by now that Minnesota farmers markets are among the best places to find great local produce. They're also great places to interact socially, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you purchase, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment in many cases.
Minnesota farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, plus they occur right in your home town, so you aren't required to travel far to locate them. They have been going on for years in some locations, but they have gotten popular in the last few years, so you should be able to find one not far from home!
The Benefits of Farmers Markets in Minnesota
The benefits of shopping at your local Minnesota 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 organically grown, so you know your family and friends will not be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Minnesota farmers markets are good for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which will help alleviate global warming, and usually, farmers don't 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.
Often, rates are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer does not have 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 money for a much better product, and who does not like that?
These markets profit Minnesota farmers, as well, since they have a weekly (or daily) market to bring in customers, plus they do not 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 purchase from local MN 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 Minnesota Farmers Market
Farmers markets usually 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. Minnesota 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 have become very 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 Minnesota Farmers Market
You're sure to find local Minnesota farms promoting their wares 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. Many 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 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 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 Minnesota farmer market or two, and come home with everything you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.