Farmers markets benefit more than your taste buds

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Boulder County Farmers Markets

Boulder County Farmers Markets open for the season Saturday in Boulder and Longmont. (Boulder County Farmers Markets/Courtesy Photo)

The 2022 Farmers Market season kicks off Saturday, April 2 at 8 a.m. in Longmont and Boulder. If you’re a market regular, you’ve counted the long 133 days since the last market of 2021, and you probably already know how shopping at farmers’ markets reduces your carbon footprint, simply tastes better, and connects you to your community. But if you’re new to the block, here are some reasons to shop at the Farmers’ Market this week (and every week after).

Supporting the planet can start with your own sustenance

Want to leave the planet better than you found it? Locally grown produce is a good place to start. The distance your food travels has a substantial effect on our environment.

Boulder County Farmers Markets open for the season Saturday in Boulder and Longmont. (Boulder County Farmers Markets/Courtesy Photo)

Let’s say the eggplant you just made into a curry was grown in Florida. It’s traveled about 2,000 miles to make it to your grocery store shelf in Colorado. That’s a lot of mileage, fuel, and travel days before you can eat your eggplant parmesan.

But if you opt to buy a fairy tale eggplant, grown locally by Aspen Moon Farm in Hygiene, it will only have traveled about 15 miles. Reducing your carbon footprint and supporting farmers who use regenerative farming practices that promote soil health and improve ecosystem biodiversity is a win-win situation for the planet.

Fresh tastes better

At the grocery store, produce is often picked long before it’s ready so it doesn’t rot before it reaches customers. Have you ever had a strawberry from the grocery store that didn’t taste like anything? It was probably picked green and then chemically forced to ripen.

Fresh, locally grown mushrooms are represented at one of Boulder County’s farmers markets. (Boulder County Farmers Markets/Courtesy Photo)

Our farmers rise well before sunrise on Saturday mornings to harvest produce to sell in our markets the same day. Picked at the peak of ripeness, you won’t catch preservatives or forced ripening in the market. Which is a good case for eating that peach palette at lightning speed. We are not complaining.

The more you fill your bag, the more our farmers feel the love

According to a Washington Post study, the average take home pay for a farmer selling to a grocery store is 7.8 cents on the dollar, compared to about 94 cents on the dollar that farmers bring in our markets. Additionally, the percentage that BCFM takes is redirected towards reinvestment in our local food community.

Supporting farmers supports your local food economy. It’s as simple as that.

It’s not snacking, it’s a community investment

Farmers markets are more than just a shopping opportunity. They connect us to our neighbours, producers, breeders and friends. Sure, you might meet someone annoying from work, but at least the product is amazing.

Where else can you shake hands with the farmer who grew your potatoes? Or listen to live music between two reserves of goat cheese and green vegetables for the week? Once you know the name of the beekeeper selling your honey, you won’t be able to go back to honey from the grocery store. We promise you’ll come for the wonderful produce and pastries, but you’ll stay for the connection to the community.

We are so excited for this market season. You’ll recognize old favorites like peaches from Morton’s Organic Orchards, pasture-raised meat from SkyPilot Farm, and coffee from Silver Canyon Coffee, plus plenty of new staples like soft pretzels from XLVII Bakery, creamy hummus from Yummy Delicious, and all fresh vegetables from The Jolly Radish Farm. See you this Saturday, April 2, when the markets open at 8 a.m., on 13th Street in Boulder or at the Longmont Fairgrounds.

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