13 dane deaner opZCDREwnMI unsplash 1Farmers markets have grown in popularity in recent years. Nowadays, consumers interested in farmers markets can likely find one near their homes whether those homes are in rural communities, the suburbs or bustling cities.

People who have never before shopped farmers markets may be curious as to why many people find them so appealing. The following are a handful of benefits of shopping farmers markets that might turn market novices into full-fledged devotees.

Freshness: Many people visit farmers markets because the fruits and vegetables sold at such markets seem to taste more fresh than those sold at chain grocery stores. People are not mistaken, as the produce available at farmers markets often comes from local farms, meaning there's no long-distance shipping necessary. Locally sourced foods need not be frozen en route to the market, meaning foods purchased there tend to taste especially fresh.

In-season foods: Some grocery stores may sell fruits and vegetables even when those foods are out of season. Farmers markets only sell in-season fruits and vegetables. To grow fruits and vegetables out-of-season, farmers may need to rely on chemicals or other unnatural methods. No such means are necessary when farmers stick to growing foods in-season.

Environmental benefits: According to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, food in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to consumers' plates. Such journeys burn natural resources, pollute the air and produce sizable amounts of trash that ultimately ends up in landfills and/or the world's oceans. Because food sold at farmers markets is locally sourced, considerably fewer natural resources are necessary to transport the food from farm to table, and the relatively short distances the food travels translates to less air pollution.

Biodiversity: Many farmers market shoppers find unique foods not readily available at their local grocery stores. This is not only a great way to discover new and delicious foods but also a way to promote biodiversity.

Hormone-free animal products: Farmers markets do not exclusively sell fruits and vegetables. Many farmers markets also are great places to find meats, cheeses and eggs. Animal products sold at farmers markets are typically antibiotic- and hormone-free, which is both more humane to the animals and healthier than animal products produced with hormones or
antibiotics.

Farmers markets are more accessible than ever, and the benefits to shopping such markets are endless.

Now, more than ever before, is the perfect time to support local entrepreneurs. One of the great characteristics of Cumberland County farmers markets is that, in addition to touting agricultural goodness, other items from local entrepreneurs, like sauces and jellies, crocheted pieces, soaps and more are often offered.

Here are a list of regular pop-up and brick-and-mortar farmers market locations.

Dirtbag Ales Farmers Market

Popular for its taproom, Dirtbag Ales offers a variety of fun activities throughout the year, to include a farmers market. The farmers market welcomes individuals, families and furry companions to support local artisans on Sundays through Nov. 22. The market notes on its Facebook page that it is adhering to social distancing guidelines with face masks being strongly encouraged. Preorders and prepay will be offered. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for more information on the vendor lineup. Dirtbag Ales is located at 5435 Corporation Drive. Visit -https://www.facebook.com/dirtbagalesfarmersmarket/?eid=ARBzYoEIHDqKQpjM4ryHihJaVs-4Y4SMXOSHiGJ9YmhzJ85g69SwR7dAo3tKoP6hwq215i7dwX1I3LGb&fref=tag for more information, or call 910-426-2537.

Murchison Road Community Farmers Market

This farmers market, located next to Fayetteville State University is a program that stems from the school's Development Corporation. Find delicious baked goods, handmade crafts and more from the area’s growers and artisans. The Murchison Road Farmer’s Market is located at 1047 Murchison Rd. The market is closed for now, but the organizers hope to resume it in the fall. To learn more, visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fayettevillefreshnc/ or call 845-216-1242.

City Market at the Museum

This farmers market, touting fresh produce, beautiful artwork, baked goods, soaps, candles and more is held on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-
1 p.m. The market is held at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum, located at 325 Franklin St., giving you the perfect reason to stroll around the downtown area and support local merchants.
For information, call 910-433-1944.

The Reilly Road Farmers Market and Carolina Farmers Market

This tried and true local favorite has been open for 40 years. Satisfy your sweet tooth with old-fashioned candies, honeys and jam, browse the fresh produce, or pick up some delicious cheese here. The farmers market is located at 445 N. Reilly Rd., although owner Mike Pate hopes to move into a building currently under construction at the corner of Raeford Road and Bunce Road. Pate also owns Carolina Farmers Market, a nursery with a beautiful selection of flowers, on 4400 Raeford Rd.  The Reilly Road Farmers Market is open throughout the week from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Call 910-868-9509 for more details. The Carolina Farmers Market is open from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. For more information, call 910-426-1575.

Bright Beginnings

If the evenings are more convenient for you to do your shopping, then Bright Beginnings will be the perfect market for you. The night market, located at Bright Light Brewing Company in downtown Fayetteville, is open on the first Friday of every month. Visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Bright-Beginnings-112449620380630/ or call 919-349-6062 to learn more.

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