During Michigan’s summer months, it’s time to boycott the fruits and vegetables provided by your favorite chain grocer and head to your local farmers market. While it might be “easier” to hop in your car and drive two minutes to the supermarket, shove the excuses aside and refrain from such actions.
If you’re not yet convinced that farmers markets are where it’s at, please let me share the following reasons why that is, in fact, the case:
- Fresher produce. Do you like your raspberries blanketed in pesticides? How about speckled with little fuzzy patches of mold? Neither do I. If you purchase your berries fresh from the farmers market, you’ll know exactly where they’re coming from, and you can use that knowledge to investigate the farm’s growing practices, thanks to handy websites like Real Time Farms. Can’t put a price on peace of mind, now can you?
- Support the local economy! This shouldn’t come as a surprise: if you purchase a bunch of asparagus at a chain grocer, where do you think your money is going? If you buy a (fresher) bunch at a farmers market, it will go directly into farmer John’s pocket. I don’t know about you, but I feel much better about the latter option.
- You get what you pay for. “Farmers markets are so expensive!” you may whine. Well, let me tell ya, I went strawberry picking last weekend and got enough strawberries to feed a small continent for $16. Had I purchased the same value at a store, the berries would have been nowhere near as juicy and gone bad in about four days. Plus, I made strawberry daiquiris, salad and more out of those sweet babies.
- Variety is the spice of life! Take a trip to the farmers market and I guarantee you’ll find something a) not available at your grocer and/or b) you’ve never even tried before. If you’re unfamiliar with rhubarb or arugula, now is the time to get acquainted.
- Farmers markets offer more than just fruits and veggies. Sometimes you’ll find delicious baked goods, meat, eggs, crafts, and other fun things to peruse. You never know, you could find some lovely eggplant and a festive potholder in one place. There’s nothing like one stop shopping!
Now that I’ve given you a list of reasons to visit the farmers market, allow me to point you in the right direction. There are markets all over Metro Detroit, but here are a few worth mentioning:
Whether or not this is your first time at the rodeo, er, farmers market, let me offer you a valuable snippet of information. The following produce items are in season in Michigan during the months of July and August: apricots, blueberries, cherries, peaches, raspberries, beans, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celery, cucumbers, eggplant, onions, peppers, radishes, spinach, squash, and turnips.
For a full list, check out this Michigan Availability Guide, courtesy of MSU’s Project Fresh.