Just about everybody knows by now that Salem farmers markets are among the best places to find great local produce. Fortunately they are also great places to make friends, taste test new, fresh ingredients before buying, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment on most occasions.
Salem farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, and they also take place in your own home town, so you don't need to travel far to locate them. They have been going on for years in some locations, but they have become 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 Salem, OR
The benefits of shopping at your local Salem farmers market are many. First, you know the produce and other items are as fresh as they can be, because they come straight from the farm to the market. Most crops available at these markets are organically grown, so you know your friends and family will not be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Salem 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 need to drive too far to the market, so the environment gets another boost while using less fuel and contributing a lot fewer emissions into the air.
Typically, rates are cheaper at farmers markets, too, because the farmer does not have to mark up his prices to make 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 Salem farmers, as well, because they have a weekly (or daily) market to appeal to customers, and they don't have to ship their products days or even weeks in advance at low cost, so they make a better profit, too. It's always better to buy from local Salem farms, because the money stays in the local economy, and that means more jobs and earnings - all from buying fresh local produce!
Finding Your Local Salem 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. Salem 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 will find a schedule from your local Cooperative Extension or county agricultural board, too. They've become quite 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 Salem Farmers Market
You're sure to find local Salem farms offering 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. Many booths will give 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 will even provide 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 Salem farmer market or two, and come home with everything you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.