With the economy on a slippery slope these days, your local farmers are also feeling the impacts of the slow economy. Large chain grocery stores that can lessen the food costs for families are gaining momentum against the local farmers markets and maybe it could be because we don’t realize how much we can save and how much healthier we can eat by taking the time to visit some of these markets and supporting farms in our area that, for the most part, offer organic products.
In the news over the past few weeks the organics movement was slammed for being overpriced with little evidence that organic over regular farming methods showed no true significance in the health of consumers. However, if you read all the news about this study you would know that they only conducted the research based on two years of evidence. Simply stated, you cannot base such a large negative lash at organic farmers without longer case studies compared to normal farming methods.
As a consumer suffering from an autoimmune disease, I have to say, getting more organic products has made a significant change in my health. Genetically altered produce and meats, whether recent scientific studies show it or not, have an effect on our bodies. Reducing the amount of non-organic foods in my diet drastically reduced the amount of inflammation I suffer from, along with an active lifestyle.
But the prices are so high you say? Yes, you do pay a little more at the register but I have found that it is mostly for meat products instead of produce and dairy. Yes, you will also pay more for free range eggs if you choose to buy them at the farmer’s markets, about $4.50 to $6.00 per dozen to be exact. But look at the quality of the products that you get compared to the prices that you pay.
Recently my husband and I visited our local Market Square Farmers Market here in Tallahassee, Florida and purchased local Tupelo Honey from Orchard Pond Organics. For a 2 lb glass jar of Tupelo Honey we paid just $12.00. Consider how much you pay for honey in your local supermarket and that it is shipped in from other localities. Did you know that consuming products like bee pollen and honey from local markets reduces allergy effects? You are being exposed to local environmental by-products instead of products that were made in a part of the country that you do not even live.
Now look at the produce items which are only items that are in season, which means they grow here now depending on our climate and weather patterns. So what is still available? Well, we purchased field peas, my husband’s favorite and we purchased fresh farm tomatoes. We also saw potatoes and lettuce varieties that are beginning to come into season. There was also eggplant, peppers, onions and other early fall crop options that are coming available, like pumpkins. What are the prices? Comparable if not less in some cases, than local grocery and supermarket chains.
So where can we go to check into these local farms that are at the market?
- Red Hills Online Farmer’s Market – An online farmers market that offers a large variety of meats, produce and dairy along with some herbs and other products depending on season. You buy a share into this program and you choose to pick up from several locations to choose from. Visit their website to get more information on this local market option.
- Market Square Farmers Market – Located in the Market District at 1415 Timberlane Road, Tallahassee, Florida. The Market Square Farmers Market is open every Saturday morning from 8 am until Noon and some farmers are there on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s from 8 am until 5 pm.
- Lake Ella Farmers Market “The Grower’s Market” – Located at 229 Lake Ella Drive, Tallahassee, Florida behind Black Dog Cafe. The Grower’s Market is open every Wednesday from 3 pm until dusk.
- Downtown Marketplace – Located in Downtown Tallahassee at Ponce de Leon Park is open March through November on Saturday mornings from 8 am until 2 pm. This market closes down for the months of December through February. Besides offering local produce, this market also offers local merchants that sell art and other local wares.
So in these coming weekends of cool weather and football parties, get out there on Saturday morning and check out your local markets and provide some good local food to your family for what can be comparable to local supermarket prices. Keeping it local helps our local farmers and local businesses thrive. They can’t do it alone, we have to pitch in and get out there.