Every Saturday morning, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., Tallahassee’s Farmers Market offers seasonal produce all year-round from over 25 different vendors with local farms. Farmers markets can be found all over the world and are accessible to all different types of communities. A farmers market is a great opportunity to support local farms and participate in your own community. Not to mention, when the produce is at its freshest, the better it tastes. 

“I love going to the Tallahassee Farmers Market on the weekends,” senior Nicole Macri said. “I like to get my fruit from there because they have such a large variety and it always tastes fresh.”

All vendors offer only locally grown or produced items. Specifically at the Tallahassee’s Farmers Market, products range from different vegetables, fruits, greens, meats, cheeses, jams, granolas, soaps, honey and more. This amazing variety of products is unlike anything at a grocery store, especially because each individual vendor has their own unique method to their farming. Because the produce is grown locally, it is generally fresher than any produce you would purchase at a big grocery store. Typically the produce that is sold at farmers markets is all picked the day before. It does not get much fresher than that!

Not only is the produce fresher, but it is also better for your overall health. Fresher produce is proven to be more nutritious. As time passes once the produce is picked, it loses its optimal nutritional value since the amount of vitamins contained begins to decline. Produce sold at farmer’s markets are also at their peak nutritiously because the local farms allow their produce the time to fully ripen. Fully ripened produce is more nutrient dense than produce that is picked before it is fully ripened. Non-local produce sold at grocery stores is picked before it is fully ripe so that it survives as it is transported to the grocery store. At the grocery store, the produce then sits on the shelf for additional time compared to the time it sits at farmers markets. For example, the Tallahassee Farmers Market is only from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.; therefore, the produce will only be sitting for at most four hours. 

Shopping at the farmers market will also reduce the carbon footprint. Since produce sold at grocery stores travel around 1,000 miles, it must be refrigerated. However, refrigeration leads to carbon dioxide emissions. A farmers market sells produce that does not require refrigeration since it is all locally grown, therefore grocery stores create drastically more carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide, a type of greenhouse gas, has a harsh impact on the environment. As greenhouse gas concentrates get higher, the earth gets warmer. An increase in temperature leads to tropical storms, wildfires, negative impacts on natural habitats, droughts, decrease in crop production, heat waves and more.

“Since carbon dioxide acts as a greenhouse gas, it is a major contributor to the gradually increasing average global temperature,” AP Environmental Science teacher Kristin Kline said. “These changes also affect global air and water currents, increasing strength and frequency of storms as well as fires in arid climates.” 

Shopping at a local farmers market helps support your local economy. Purchasing food from the farmer who actually put the work into growing it feels much more rewarding as a customer. Direct-market farms generate twice the amount of economic activity compared to those who do not use direct marketing. The impact these farmers have on their local community derives from the idea that they get their materials locally as well. The majority of direct-marketing farmers purchase their supplies from local businesses. Whatever money you put towards your local farmers market will stay in your community longer, possibly even ending up back in your wallet.

“My family and I visit farmers markets occasionally,” Kline said. “Shopping locally is a great way to decrease carbon footprint because your food doesn’t have to travel as far, as well as keeping your money in the local economy.”

Not only will you be eating the freshest and highest quality produce, but you will be giving your local community an economic boost at the same time. Therefore, shopping at your local farmers market is a win-win!

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