Calling all locavores- it’s farmers market season! We at Boston Green Blog love our farmers markets: fresh summer veggies, earth-friendly choices, and maybe an excuse to show off your favorite produce bag! You'll have the chance to interact with the people that grew your food. So next time you’re visiting, take advantage of it! Before you pay for those bell peppers, talk with the farmer selling them to find out their history. We recommend asking these questions:
Do you employ organic practices?
Contrary to what most believe, farmers market vendors do not always sell organic products. In order to advertise as organic, farmers must have a USDA certification. But not having a certification doesn’t mean a farmer doesn’t farm organically. If the quality and environmental impact of your food is important to you, make sure to ask about the practices that farmers use. Do they use pesticides on produce? Synthetic fertilizers? What quality of food do they feed their animals?
Where are you located?
Although many farmers markets require vendors to be within a certain distance, that’s not always the case. Especially when shopping at larger markets in the city, ask the farmer where there farm is. Even if they are located all the way in Maine, you’re still better off than shipping strawberries from California; however, it may be important to you to find more local offerings in the area to support your community.
How can I help support this farmers market?
Farmers markets are a fantastic resource that allows you to celebrate local, healthy food and non-industrial farming methods. They support growers and the surrounding area, and at the same time cut down on the wasted resources that shipping requires. Many markets are also independent or community efforts that could use volunteers. Find out who runs yours—often there’s a booth with people who can provide information—and ask how you can help out. The more people that get involved in this wonderful effort, the better!
This post is by Abbey Foucart, one of Boston Green Blog's newest contributors! Learn more about Abbey and the rest of the teamhere.