Find a Local Farmers Market in NJ
Just about everybody knows by now that New Jersey farmers markets are one of the better places to find great local produce. Also they are great places to make friends, taste test new, fresh ingredients before buying, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment in many cases.
New Jersey farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, plus they take place right in your own home town, so you don't have to travel 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 New Jersey
The advantages of shopping at your local New Jersey farmers market are many. First off, you are assured the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, because they come straight 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 won't be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, New Jersey 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 a lesser number of pollutants into the air.
Often, prices are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer does not need to mark up his prices to generate income from a wholesaler, who marks up the prices again before they get to the supermarket. So, you are actually paying less cash for a far better product, and who does not like that?
These markets profit New Jersey farmers, as well, because they have a weekly (or daily) market to appeal to customers, plus they don't need to ship their products days or weeks beforehand at wholesale prices, so they make a better profit, too. It's always safer to buy from local NJ farms, since the money stays in the local economy, and that means more jobs and profits - all from buying fresh local produce!
Finding Your Local New Jersey Farmers Market
Farmers markets in most cases run from late May or early June through September or October, according to where you live and your climate. Actually it all depends on the growing season in your area and when farmers can get their first products to market. New Jersey 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 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 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 New Jersey Farmers Market
You are sure to find local New Jersey 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. Nearly all booths will give you a free taste of whatever you are looking at, so you can check out new flavors and crops you may 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 New Jersey farmer market or two, and come home with everything else you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.