Washington Farmers Market Guide

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Find a Local Farmers Market in WA

Just about everyone understands these days that Washington farmers markets are one of the best places to find great local produce. Fortunately they are also great places to make friends, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you purchase, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment on most occasions.

Washington farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, and they take place in your own home town, so you don't need to travel far to find them. They've been going on for years in some locations, but they've 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 Washington

The advantages of shopping at your local Washington 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. Most crops available for sale at these markets are naturally grown, so you know your family and friends will not be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.

Also, Washington farmers markets are good for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which can help minimize global warming, and usually, farmers don't have to drive too far to the market, so the environment gets another boost from using less fuel and contributing a lower number of pollutants into 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 before they get to the supermarket. So, you will be actually paying less cash for a much better product, and who does not like that?

These markets profit Washington farmers, as well, given that they have a weekly (or daily) market to appeal to customers, and in addition they do not have to ship their products days or weeks in advance at wholesale prices, so they make a better profit, too. It's always better to buy from local WA 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 Washington 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 depends on the growing season in your area and when farmers can get their first products to market. Washington 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 can find a schedule from your local Cooperative Extension or county agricultural board, too. They've already become very 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 Washington Farmers Market

You will be sure to find local Washington farms promoting 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. Nearly all booths offer 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 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 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 Washington farmer market or two, and come home with everything you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.