You should try shopping at your local farmers markets for these 6 reasons:
1. It can save you money. At a farmers market, you can pick out exactly how much of something you need. Only need one carrot? No need to buy a bunch you won’t use, like you might have to do at the grocery store.
And the produce at a farmer’s market is only what’s fresh and in-season. It’s also local. At the grocery store, you’re paying for your fruit to be shipped across the country from where it is in-season. By buying your fruits and veggies locally based on what is fresh, you stop paying your food’s travel costs.
Illinois also has a Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program that gives you a free booklet of checks that you can use at local markets. Find details and participating counties and markets on the Illinois Department on Aging’s site.
2. You can support your community. Because the people selling at farmer’s markets live in the area, your money goes back into the local economy.
3. Many accept SNAP and WIC benefits. Many farmers markets accept these to make sure families can afford buying healthy, fresh food. Learn more about which ones take SNAP and WIC, or check out this list of all the farmer’s markets that take Illinois Link Benefits.
Certain markets, like the new Champaign Farmers’ Market downtown, have special deals for SNAP users, so it’s always good to check with the info booth first. At their market, they will double up to $20 of benefits per person while funds last when you bring your Link card to the market booth!
4. It has lots of healthy foods. Fresh fruits and veggies are full of nutrients and antioxidants and are a big part of the MyPlate guidelines from the USDA that help you eat healthier.
5. The farmers often have suggestions. They can tell you what foods are the best right now, help you find new things to try, and tell you the best ways to cook what you buy.
6. It’s a good family activity. It’s a great way to get your kids involved and learning about healthy eating, and it’s so nice to shop outside on a beautiful day.
Need tips on shopping at farmers markets? We can help you do it right!