Just about everybody knows by now that Mercer Island farmers markets are one of the best places to find great local produce. They're also great places to socialize, taste test new, fresh ingredients before you purchase, and even watch cooking demonstrations and entertainment on many occasions.
Mercer Island farmers markets highlight the products from local farms and other agri-businesses, plus they happen right in your own home town, so you don't need to travel far to find 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 Mercer Island, WA
The advantages of shopping at your local Mercer Island 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 family and friends will not be eating anything except farm-fresh goodness.
Also, Mercer Island farmers markets are good for the environment. Farms contribute oxygen and remove carbon dioxide from the air, which will help relieve 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 emissions into the air.
Typically, prices 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 benefit Mercer Island farmers, as well, because they have a weekly (or daily) market to bring in customers, plus they do not have to ship their products days or weeks in advance at wholesale prices, therefore they make a better profit, too. It's always safer to buy from local Mercer Island 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 Mercer Island Farmers Market
Farmers markets usually run from late May or early June through September or October, depending on 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. Mercer Island 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'll find a schedule from your local Cooperative Extension or county agricultural board, too. They've become so 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 Mercer Island Farmers Market
You will be sure to find local Mercer Island 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. Most booths will give you a free taste of whatever you are 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 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 Mercer Island farmer market or two, and come home with everything you need for a healthy, hearty dinner.