Check out your local farmers market for fresh organic produce. We enjoy being able to buy a wide variety of fresh organic vegetables including squash, mixed greens, carrots, spinach, kale and Jerusalem artichokes at our local market. We were also able to buy organic chicken and eggs ~ a bonus. In the Fall, when the only produce left over from our own garden are a few pounds of potatoes and onions we really appreciate being able to buy fresh, locally grown organic vegetables and meat.
Why Farmers Markets
We know they are great for a lot of reasons, and the main one for me is to be able to speak with the people who have grown the food we eat and know it is fresh without chemicals. At previous markets we have purchased other organic produce such as garlic, herbs, cheeses, mushrooms, peppers, cucumbers, and a wide variety of other fruits and vegetables. See the full list in Links of Farmers Markets throughout the province – many run through the winter and sell preserves, cheeses, baked goods as well as locally made handicrafts.
When Buying fresh produce at your local Farmers Market
- The fruit and vegetables may not look quite like your local grocery store as being grown without chemicals they may have the odd blemish or be a different colour than what you are used to. Usually this in no way detracts from the superior taste
- Fresh produce crackles and pops – a fresh bean snaps when bent and radishes crunch and spurt when bitten into.
- Fresh fruit and vegetables have a “fragrance” and yes, I believe, taste much better than the same fruit which has been picked green, covered with preservatives and colours, shipped thousands of miles and sits in a heated store for a week before you buy it!
- Ask your market vendor when your pumpkins (or your intended purchase) were picked so you can have an idea how long they can be stored. Usually, it is much longer (squash = months) than produce bought at a store.
- Ask what day the chicken eggs were laid – as often we store them in our refrigerator for a week or two before using. It is not unusual that we buy our eggs the day after they were laid.
- Is it chemical free or Certified Organic and fresh and local. Some vendors state they do not spray chemicals, or they should be able to let you know when or what was used so that you can choose to buy the product or not. Certified Organic is easy – as it has a big green tick and farmers go through rigorous standards over three years to obtain this certification. See article on How do you know its Organic. CAP article What does Organic Mean
- Quite often you may not be able to purchase exactly what you want and I have seen very disappointed shoppers who arrived later in the day to find a vendor sold out (think it was organic blueberries in the summer). So shop early!
- Farm market vendors quite often offer samples for you to try. If not, buy a small quantity and if it is to your liking – they know you will return. Markets I have attended generally appear to have a variety and very high standard of good produce.
- A final note is to remember to wash all your fresh produce bought into the home – just like you do from the big box store or your own garden.
We are extremely fortunate in this province to have access to such a bounty of fresh organic produce grown locally, almost all year round. So remember to support our local farmers and let them know how much we appreciate having access to this abundance. It really is a fun activity to do with your family in your community.
Whenever travelling or visiting another community in B.C, or elsewhere we always try to visit the local Farmers Market and rarely walk away empty handed, in fact we usually buy more than intended.
Links and References
- Link to Greater Vancouver Farmers Markets
- And here’s the link to the BC Farmers Market so you check out towns before you travel in B.C.
- Link to Abundant Acre Family Farm