Are you concerned about reducing green house gasses and your carbon footprint? What you purchase from farmers markets usually comes from farms less than 100 miles away–not flown in from Chile or New Zealand.
Another reason to shop at farmers markets is there is less packaging than big grocery stores, and you can use your own bags, meaning less waste overall. Most importantly, farmers markets offer organic produce at a discount when compared to large grocery stores.
Organic is oft-used but commonly misunderstood term. Truly organic means that farmers use renewable resources, including the conservation of soil and water, to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Also, crops that are organic are free from conventional pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, bio-engineering/genetic modification, and irradiation. In reference to livestock, truly organic also certifies that meat and poultry are free from antibiotics and growth hormones.
Organic produce and meats really matter and it will make a difference in your health and the health of your loved ones. Not all farmers have a national certification such as the California Certified Organic Farmer (CCOF). CCOF is the premier organic certification organization since 1973, with higher standards than the USDA. Keep in mind, however, that just because a farmer is not certified (which can be an expensive proposition) does not necessarily mean that they do not use organic methods. If you are in doubt, ask.
Finally, If you are hesitant to believe that farmers markets are a great bargain, try it once and compare to other places where you buy meat and/or produce. You may be pleasantly surprised.
With so many local options there is no reason that one of these open air delights is not convenient to your routine and schedule. You can make a difference to help the earth and your health every time you open you wallet!
Here are a few of my favorites for you to check out:
This is one of my favorite markets because it is super cheap!! It is in operation all year round and I find the best deals here on organic produce. My advice is to get to know some of the farmers because they may hook you up with free stuff if you become a regular. Also you can find out more about how they grow their food by asking about their farms. As mentioned about, some of the farmers here are not certified organic because to obtain a license is a very expensive proposition but they use organic farming practices on their farms. Sometimes it just takes a few questions to check on the methods. One of my favorite places is Phan Farm (which is certified by CCOF) has amazing ginger, herbs lettuce, pastured eggs, and the best Brussels sprouts anywhere. Another CCOF farmer who is only here in the spring and summer is Two Dog Farm. They have amazing dry farmed tomatoes, collards (as we say in Nashville) and chard–all for a song. I buy much of my produce from a great lady named Leora (on the left side coming from Hyde St.) who sells veggies for Miramonte Farms in San Juan Batista, that is organic but again, not certified. Leora will tell you some of her fruit has been raised with fertilizer, but the greens are all 100% organic. I also love the walnuts in the hulls from here, and the rosemary, fresh bay leaves, and sage, which are all a steal. Parking is free in the library parking lot on Sundays with help from lots of shabbily dressed valets.
Saturdays 9 am to 1pm
Jack London Square Farmers Market
Water Street between Harrison and Franklin
Every Sunday 9 am to 2 pm all year
This market has artisan crafts and gourmet food vendors galore. My favorite is the raw sauerkraut lady (gotta get those probiotics). Come with a good appetite and your shopping list because everything looks and tastes wonderful. The parking is free and easy here if you are willing to walk 2 or 3 blocks. Located on the water with lots of sailboats and sunshine. There is some good seafood for purchase and a yummy smoked salmon vendor. There is something to please every taste here.Don’t be afraid to cross the bridge–get out and explore!