Farmers market? What are we going to do there?
You might have been asked this question many times before by friends and relatives every time you ask them to go with you to the farmers market. I bet the reason they ask is that, at the moment, they cannot think of anything they need to buy in the farmers market, making the trip impractical. That sounds reasonable. Many people have the impression that the farmers market is for buying items only.
As we celebrate the annual National Farmers Market Week, let us change the way we think about the time we spend at a farmers market. The truth is, there are many things to do here, other than buying items from local vendors. The next time you visit the farmers market, you may want to add these to your to-do list, while TexasRealFood is here to help you find the farmers markets that are nearest you.
Make it a family day
A family day need not be expensive. It can be something as simple as going to the farmers market together. It is great for kids since there are family markets that have petting animals and other activities for kids like crafts. Use it to educate your kids on why you buy organic from local sources. Introduce them to vendors so that they know who to buy from should they go here by themselves for supplies. Make them appreciate the idea that they are part of a community.
Meet new friends
The farmers market is a very friendly place. The vendors are very kind. You’ll find them engaged in a friendly conversation with buyers and fellow vendors even if they are busy tending to their goods. People find new friends here, especially the people they meet in specialty shops with whom they share a common interest. Are you starting an apiary? Me too! Do you use this organic soap? Yes, this also helps my skin. You started an arts and craft club? I want to join! Buying a new frying pan? Let me share with you some tips I got from TexasRealFood.
Learn new things
Everything you need to learn is on the internet, sure. But isn’t learning easier if you do it by interacting with another person? What’s great about the farmers market is the eagerness of everyone to share useful, practical tips and knowledge gleaned from experience to anyone who cares to listen. There is no such thing as a tightly-guarded secret here (except for family recipes, which is understandable) among hobbyists and enthusiasts who are always excited to grow the community and encourage others to try it themselves too – baking, beekeeping, arts and crafts, hydroponic gardening, etc. Who knows, maybe this time next year, you are here as a vendor too! And if you want to start your small business, you have a support system to help you get your business off the ground and gain traction. It is a community, not a competition.
Consider new artistic or entrepreneurial opportunities
Have you been trying to come up with a business idea but always end up hitting a wall? Are you worried that your artistic juices have gone dry? Visit the farmers market! The idea for your next successful business or artistic undertaking might be inspired by a product you buy here, a vendor or fellow buyer you just had a conversation with here, a store selling specialty products in the farmers market., or a specific experience you had while you were here. It is not surprising. A farmers market is always full of energy. It is diverse and colorful and the people here are creative, open-minded, and always exploring new ideas.
Expand your horizon
If you feel like your everyday life is monotonous and you are looking for opportunities to try something new, then visit the farmers market. Here, you can try new foods or buy items you haven’t used before. You can find inspiration here to try things you refused to do before, like starting a window garden or using upcycled items.
The farmers market is a fun, relaxing experience. It is a family-friendly place that is great for that casual stroll during the weekend. Your time in the farmers market is supposed to take your mind off things and help you unwind. The good food and coffee should put you in a great mood. Many farmers markets have live bands and other activities to make visiting more appealing to guests. You can even bring your dogs too! The farmers market is a great way to enjoy a wonderful, sunny, relaxing day.
Learn about the community and the environment
One of the important functions the farmers markets fulfill is giving businesses that adhere to environmentally safe practices the space they need to be seen and heard, helping educate the community about the important issues affecting the environment. Besides vendors, you’ll also encounter here several special interest groups that frequent farmers markets hoping to educate about important issues in agriculture, food, labor, and commerce and their impact on national as well as local economic and agricultural landscape. They are here also to invite people to join the advocacy. If you are interested in being a part of a group or an initiative that will have a positive impact on the community, you may come across groups at farmers markets and get the chance to talk to them and know more about the problems they are trying to address and what citizens can do to help.
Talk to them about your food
How is it grown or made? How can you take part in community-supported agriculture (CSA)? How can you subscribe to a regular supply of food boxes? It is great if you support your local farmers and growers. But the relationship shouldn’t end there. Talk to them about things that matter and realities that affect food, like how the winter storm or dry season affected the crops, harvest, and supply this year. Or maybe tell them the problems you are facing as a consumer and see if the farmers, growers, vendors, and consumers can collaborate to find a solution, like turning known food deserts into food forests.
There is more to farmers markets than vendors selling goods for profit. Farmers markets play an important and valuable role in the community, but in order for farmers markets to be successful, it needs the cooperation and participation of the locals in the community. As we celebrate National Farmers Market Week, let us show our local farmers market some love by visiting, buying, and taking a more active role in keeping farmers markets alive, thriving, and bustling with energy.