August 7th through the 13th marks the 12th annual National Farmers Market Week – a week dedicated to spreading the word about how important farmers markets are for our local communities.
“Farmers markets grow healthy farms, healthy people, and healthy communities,” says Stacy Miller, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “During a slow economic recovery, farmers markets are stand-out successes in delivering triple bottom line benefits while making entrepreneurship work in communities large and small. During Farmers Market Week, we invite everyone to celebrate their local farmers markets and enjoy fresh local food from America’s most innovative farmers.” –FarmersMarketCoalition.org
I’m a huge fan of supporting local farmers – which is partly why I participate in my CSA farm share every year. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a program that allows me to pick up an allotment of fresh vegetables right from a local farm every Tuesday after paying upfront at the beginning of the growing season. Farmers Markets are abundant in my area too, which makes it extremely easy for me to get fresh local produce almost any day of the week. Actually, efforts to support local farmers are so abundant in Western Massachusetts that it’s hard for me to imagine not being within easy reach to delicious seasonal produce. However the truth of the matter is that many people don’t have this kind of access.
But why not?! Well it seems that I’m not the only one asking that same question because we have some good news. The number of farmers markets has grown to 7,175 in 2011! I’d say a 17% increase in just one year is success to be talking about!
So get to your local farmers market this week, show your support, and learn how supporting them is really investing in your community too! If you don’t know where your nearest farmers market is located, try searching on Local Harvest or the Eat Well Guide.
Just in case you aren’t sure what you may be missing out on, here are a few pictures of what I’ve been getting in my CSA farm share the past several weeks. I’m not sure which is better – getting fresh veggies – or picking my own flowers in their incredible fields! Don’t forget that fresh produce goes perfectly with any Lightlife item too – fresh summer squash with Smart Strips steak style, fresh garlic, and bell peppers - YUM .
Do you shop at a farmers market near you? Do you think it’s important to support your local farmers? What’s your favorite thing to pick-up there and do you have any suggestions on new produce other readers should try?
Lightlife Team Member