13There’s nothing like cooking food for loved ones and being able to brag about your ingredients being from a local grower. Living in the south or even just having an older relative that loves to cook, you’re more than likely to know someone that was raised on a farm.

Growing up in the country, people are used to getting their produce a few different ways. They may grow their own produce themselves. Others may shop at local stores who buy from local farmers. Some are going to farmers markets and buying directly from the farmer who grew the produce. Some may even have relatives that still freeze their peas, butter beans and corn for different seasons or buy fruits like peaches and strawberries by the boxes to make jellies and jams.

This year, Congress recognized the vital role farmers markets play in local economies and their exponential growth nationwide by designating August 6 to 12 as National Farmers Markets Week.

According to farmersmarketcoalition.org, “A farmers market is a public and recurring assembly of farmers or their representatives selling the food that they produced directly to consumers. Farmers markets facilitate personal connections and bonds of mutual benefits between farmers, shoppers and communities.”

Shopping locally at farmers markets is great for the community in different ways. The experience of being around fresh produce that you know was grown a driving distance away is a great feeling. With the world still recovering from a pandemic, people are taking advantage of being outside and enjoying buying local goods. People are also being a little more health conscious, wanting to eat fresher foods and having the security in knowing where their food is coming from.

Getting food from your local farmers markets is almost a night and day difference from shopping at grocery stores when it comes to quality, pricing, taste and sometimes even color and size.
There are a few different types of farmers markets that you could attend to find your unique and natural foods. There are reoccurring farmers markets that happen on weekends, or maybe once a week on a13a Saturday.

With these markets you’re more than likely getting the food directly from the farmer that grows it. There are also brick-and-mortar markets that buy from a combination of local distributors and farmers in their region, to keep the produce as fresh and local as possible. These places can be open year-round, but still only sell what’s in season and what’s being grown from their farmers. If you’re lucky and live in the right area, you might be able to catch a farmer on the corner of a street selling things like watermelons and peaches during the summer. You could even stumble upon a farm in your community that lets you pick strawberries and other fruits growing that season.

Fayetteville is home to two well-known brick-and-mortar farmers markets. Pate’s Farm Market and T & T Farmers Market have been serving the community for well over 20 years each. At these locations you can buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. They’re also both home to a variety of custom and local sauces, jellies and jams that you can’t find at your average grocery store.

Speaking with the workers of these markets, they find it most satisfying greeting their regulars and knowing their relationships with their growers and farmers is genuine.

Candice Gowdy, manager of T & T Farmers Market off Cumberland Road says, “It’s nice to see you helping a family, knowing they’re helping you. It’s a beautiful circle to see going around.”

Fayetteville has erupted over the last couple of years with local outdoor farmers markets like City Market at the Fayetteville History Museum held on Saturdays downtown off Franklin Street and the Dirtbag Ale’s Market out in Hope Mills held on Sundays. There’s even a Sandhill’s Farmers & Heritage Market held in Spring Lake every Saturday. These markets sell everything from candles, hot sauces, plants to seafood, and everything in between. These local gatherings have been beneficial to small businesses in the community, allowing people to experience homemade and homegrown goods.

A major difference between the produce you’ll find at grocery stores and farmers markets is the chemicals used to preserve the produce and the distance the produce travels to get to consumers. If you buy an apple from Walmart or Food Lion, chances are they had to travel hundreds of miles and through at least one or two factories before you bring it home and put it in your refrigerator.

13bWhen these bigger companies buy from larger distributors around the country, and sometimes the world, the produce may have to be prepicked earlier, so it doesn’t ripen too quickly through the traveling process.

The produce also must be sprayed with different chemicals and pesticides to sustain freshness, especially if it’s not in season in the area. That can alter how your food tastes and how healthy it is.

There is also a guarantee in knowing who your money is going to as a consumer.

Purchasing from a local store, market or farmer allows you to keep that money in your community knowing you’re helping the people that live there. The money either stays in your city or even when taxed stays in your state, providing direct benefits to your community.

Granted, there is and always will be a need for grocery stores. Society needs these stores that provide all basic necessities year-round. They also offer jobs and careers to local people, which are fundamental to every community. Though these things are true, it’s also important to consider where you buy certain products, especially during certain seasons.

During National Farmers Markets Week, don’t forget to visit the local markets here in Fayetteville that are happening during the weekends but even the year-round locations that offer fresh and seasonal produce every day during the week.

For more information on T & T Farmers Market visit https://www.loc8nearme.com/north-carolina/fayetteville/t-and-t-farmers-market/6383804/


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