Our local farmers’ markets are cool, and that’s a fact. From 1994 to today, the number of farmers’ markets in the U.S. increased from 2,000 to more than 8,600. But despite the rise in popularity across the country in recent decades, farmers’ markets are really nothing new. In fact, a rather convincing argument could be made that the farmers’ market concept is pretty much as old as human civilization. As long as communities have existed, markets have operated to trade, barter, and sell local goods. And if there’s one thing that has never changed, it’s that we all have to eat.
Kentucky Proud Farmers’ Markets
A Growing Trend
Unless you grow and raise all your own food, you have to get it from somewhere. Traditionally, people purchased fresh foods from local markets and shops. The shift away from traditional local market economies for food purchasing is a fairly recent development. In the 20th century, a combination of improved shipping capabilities and advancements in refrigeration made stocking store shelves with meats and produce from around the globe viable. And while there’s more than a little something to be said for the pleasure of enjoying strawberries in December or a pineapple (at any time of the year) in Kentucky, there’s also a lot of benefits to shopping at your local Kentucky Proud farmers’ market.
Where else can you find locally grown produce, meat, eggs, and more sold at the peak of freshness? And purchasing your food from a Kentucky Proud farmers’ market supports your local farm families and keeps the money you spend in your community. That’s good for local businesses and for you as well.
What’s even better? Finding a market near you has never been easier. There are now more than 160 successful and diverse farmers’ markets across the Commonwealth, spanning 112 counties and approximately 3,000 vendors. Make the short trip to your nearest market today and enjoy locally grown, raised, and prepared food as well as fresh-from the-farm products.
Know where your food comes from
If you know a farmer, you know the hours are long and the work is never done. Farmers choose to farm because they care about the land and our food while serving a vital role in their communities. It can be a thankless profession, but we literally couldn’t live without them.
According to a 2017 Forbes magazine article, for every $100 spent at locally owned businesses, $68 remains in the local community. Supporting local businesses also creates jobs where you live. And shopping at your local farmers’ market means your food travels fewer miles from the farm to your plate. That not only allows you to pick your food at the very peak of freshness but also conserves energy and resources in the form of decreased transportation costs and reduced packaging.
Nutritious and Deliciously Fresh
Believe it or not, purchasing the freshest foods from your local farmers’ market can actually be more nutritious for you and your family. We all know that eating your fruits and veggies is part of a healthy diet that can help manage weight and blood sugar. But what may surprise you is that eating locally grown fresh produce maximizes the amount of available nutrients. Fruits and vegetables often lose nutritional value over time as the water content in produce begins to absorb the available nutrients, so there’s added health benefits in consuming the freshest picked foods. Not to mention that fresh just tastes better!
Fruits and vegetables are awesome, but we all need to splurge a bit on occasion. So, whether your guilty pleasure is a buttered slice of freshly baked bread, a glass of wine, a juicy grilled ribeye, or a big ol’ bag of kettle corn, you can find all sorts of delectable foods at your local farmers’ market. The diversity of many markets is nothing to sneeze at, even if some of the locally grown flower bouquets cause you a bit of a sniffle.
Don’t miss out; plan a visit to your local market where you’ll find the freshest ingredients and so much more. Fresh food. Fresh thinking. Find both at a Kentucky Proud Farmers’ Market near you.