These 11 Facts Prove Why Shopping
At The Farmers Market Is Better

I love shopping at the farmers market for many reasons. Before you start telling me your objections to avoid the best food in town, let me prove to you why you SHOULD be getting your food directly from the farmers, and then you'll know How To Cook Fresh.

1 – It just tastes better. If you are a fan of food, good food, this is where you’ll find it. I understand that many people have dumbed-down their taste buds due to the convenience and low cost of commercial food production. However, full-flavor food and the enjoyment of it is one of the greatest parts of being alive. Bright colors and brilliant eye-appeal heighten your cooking and eating experience. If you combine that with the REAL flavor of a local strawberry, peach, lettuce, or even chicken, you’ll have greater enjoyment from your food.

2. Live in the Moment (or at least the season) – They won’t have everything all the time at the farmers market, and that’s okay. You don’t get your birthday or Christmas every day either. When it’s Strawberry season, I enjoy Strawberries very much and then they’re gone. Luckily, it’s Blueberry season by the time that happens. There’s a connection you experience with nature when you eat only what’s fresh, local and available.

3. Farmers Are Working Hard For You. These guys work HARD to supply excellent food and I want my money to support them. Most often, they are multi-generational farmers and have a deep sense of pride in what they do. They’re not getting wealthy through farming, but do lead richer lives.

And, if you spend $100 at a farmers' market, $62 goes back into the local economy, and $99 out of $100 stays in the state. If you spend $100 at a grocery store, only $25 stays local. So, where do you want your money to go?

4 – It’s Good For The Earth - Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate. This takes a lot of jet fuel and gasoline. Shipping food creates a lot of waste, and it’s often treated, waxed or gassed to help lessen this effect. Your local farmer loves the land that supports their family. Corporate farms are polluting, depleting lands, and using inordinate amounts of resources to make food cheaper.

5 – It’s Better For You – When food is harvested before it’s fully ripe, it has less nutrients than items allowed to ripen on the plant. If you’re to ship food 1500 miles, it must be picked before ripe to reduce spoilage. Much of the mega-mart food is highly processed and grown using pesticides, antibiotics, hormones or gene modification.

6 – The Serendipity of Something New – Grocery stores sell what sells. Farmers sell what grows. I enjoy seeing what is n ew every week at the farmers market, asking the farmer about it and using it in my cooking. My meals are never dull when I keep a wide variety of fresh, seasonal, wholesome foods on my table.

7 – You're An Animal Lover – I can’t even listen to stories about the mistreatment of animals. Now, I’m also a carnivore so this is a bit of a contradiction. I’m not enough of an animal lover to stop eating some of them. I’m higher up the food chain. If chickens, cows, and pigs are raised humanely, in sanitary conditions, and treated well, they have only one bad day.

8 – Eat Your Own Dirt – Not literally the dirt, but the minerals and nutrients native to where YOU live that are characteristics of local food. I believe there is credibility to the idea that food from your earth carries the minerals and anti-bodies necessary to keep you healthy. Knowing where your food comes from, the source of the food, is becoming increasingly important with the potential food safety hazards of global shipping,

9 – Cooking Is Easier and More Fun – When I vacation in Hawaii, I cook dinner almost every night because of the inspiring ingredients there. Many people ask me why a chef wouldn’t want a vacation FROM cooking. Just as a violinist would love to play the finest instrument, the freshest ingredients inspire you to cook. The freshest ingredients are also the easiest to cook and most nutritious. They’re like a Stradivarius violin or Steinway piano, you simply MUST play them.

10 – Make Gathering Your Food A Family Event – The farmers market is where people like you, people who care about food, congregate. Meet your neighbors, talk to farmers, enjoy the outdoors rather than fluorescent lighting and bring your family with you to learn about fresh food. The farmers market makes shopping an exciting treasure hunt and takes more involvement and thought than the grocery store.

11 – Avoid Plastics And Packaging – Think about how much packaging goes into the grocery store. Lettuce is in plastic bags, fruit is bound with mesh, even broccoli is placed on a Styrofoam tray and sealed! Bring your reusable bags to the farmers market and place your fresh ingredients directly into them and you’ll be saving landfills as well.

Farmers Market shopping has many more benefits over traditional mega-mart stores that might not be apparent to me. I’d love to hear what YOU think is the best reason for shopping locally. Please leave your comment below:

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About Chef Todd

Chef Todd Mohr is a Certified Culinary Educator who has empowered home cooks all over the world with the reliable, dependable, repeatable METHODS behind cooking that build confidence, generate creativity and enable anyone to cook with the ingredients THEY desire.


Leave a Comment

  • Wayne
    2:03 AM - 25 April, 2014

    Chef,,you are spot on !! Going to a farmer's market is so much fun and interesting!. Talking to the people who grew the food is an incredible experience,,always learn alot from them. So glad to have several markets within an hour drive of the house. Gives me many choices for my food. Nothing better than local fresh healthy food to take home and cook up. Everybody wins !!

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      4:10 PM - 25 April, 2014

      Amen, Wayne! The grocery store depresses me.

  • joey
    7:04 PM - 24 April, 2014

    Chef! Everything you say makes sense and is probably true but you can't get everything you need at a farm stand. It means I have to double my shopping and I just don't have time for that, but I still love all your videos and advice on cooking fresh produce that I get from the local grocery store.

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      7:51 PM - 24 April, 2014

      Hey Joey!
      You're correct. There's no toilet paper and cleaning products at the farmers market, you'll have to make another trip for them. Hopefully, you'll see that as a small sacrifice for getting the freshest food that supports your community. I'd rather have less cleaning products and better food than better cleaning products and lousy food.

  • Louise
    7:02 PM - 24 April, 2014

    I always shop at the farmers market and agree with all your reasons, but I would also add that it is just a more fun way to shop in general. I like talking to the different vendors and browsing around in a leisurely fashion. When I go to the grocery store now, I feel stressed out. Thanks for all your great videos. I watch every one I get. From, Louise.

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      7:52 PM - 24 April, 2014

      Hi Louise!
      Thank you for your kind comment. You highlight another major difference. When I ask questions of the grocery worker, most often I get a response of "huh?" When I talk to the farmer, they can tell me everything about how the food was grown, how the animal was fed, and how they treat the food. I'd rather interact with someone who cares.

  • Robert
    7:01 PM - 24 April, 2014

    Hi Chef! Good article but I still think the farmers market is much higher in price than the supermarket and I worry about fresh food going bad with how much I have to buy to get through the week. Any suggestions there?

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      7:55 PM - 24 April, 2014

      Hi Robert!
      It's true that the farmers market takes a bit more effort and education to really take advantage of it. It's a common misconception that the farmers market is more expensive. Actually, think about how much you'd have to charge for a tomato flown from across the country versus a better one grown in your community. The shipped tomato is more expensive in many ways. Then, if you consider quality and value versus price, you'll see the local market as cheaper, if not a better value.

      As for your items going bad, my advice is 1) know your portions and only buy what you'll cook. 2) Know how to correctly store fresh ingredients to extend their shelf life. I cover many of these topics in my 4-part webinar, How To Cook Fresh.

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