Find a Local Farmers Market in NY
Just about everyone understands by now that New York 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 in many cases.
New York farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, and they take place right in your home town, so you don't have to travel far to locate 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 New York
The benefits of shopping at your local New York farmers market are many. First off, you know the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, since they come directly from the farm to the market. Most crops for sale at these markets are organically grown, so you know your friends and family will not be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, New York farmers markets are great for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which can help minimize global warming, and usually, farmers don't need to drive too far to the market, so the environment gets another boost while using less fuel and contributing a lot fewer emissions in the air.
Typically, rates are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer doesn't have 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 money for a far better product, and who doesn't like that?
These markets profit New York 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 better to buy from local NY 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 New York 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 depends on the growing season in your area and when farmers can get their first products to market. New York 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 New York Farmers Market
You are sure to find local New York farms offering their wares 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. Many booths will offer 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 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 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 New York farmer market or two, and come home with everything else you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.