Buy Fresh Produce at the Local Farmers Market

by lakeerieartists

With people becoming more aware of the benefits of eating healthy, and the push to help support local economies, local farms are reaping the benefits, and so are their customers.

In the last few years, local farmers markets have been on the upswing. With people becoming more aware of the benefits of eating healthy, and the push to help support local economies, local farms are reaping the benefits, and so are their local customers.

Buying fresh produce from local farmers gives customers not only the freshest produce around, but also the opportunity to try interesting varieties of organic produce and heirloom fruits and vegetables. Buyers get to try vegetables that never make it to mainstream supermarkets and grocery stores and create a relationship with the local farmers who grow the fresh produce. In return farmers can teach their customers how to find the best local produce at its peak ripeness and give them recipes to use their produce in.

The Growth of Local Farmers Markets

Eggplants at the farmers market

In Ohio alone, over 11,000 small farmers sell at 144 local farmers markets, some which go all year round.  Local farmers markets are great places to meet your neighbors, grab some fresh produce, and bakery from a local baker while you sip your coffee from the local coffee shop.  If you bring your own grocery tote bags to the market, you will not only save the farmers money, but you will create a greener atmosphere to your local community.

Click Through for More Gifts with Pictures from Shaker Square Farmers Market

Spotlight on Cleveland's North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square

Every Saturday all year round North Union Farmers Market runs its farmers market at Shaker Square.  Three quarters of the year, the farmers market takes up the entire center of Shaker Square filled with an average of 80 vendors lining both sides of the street.  The market includes Amish baked goods, farm raised fish, poultry, beef and eggs, as well as fresh produce. Traffic is rerouted from 6 am to 1 pm every Saturday as the market is filled with regulars, including families toting children, and strollers.

During the winter from January through March, North Union Farmers Market comes indoors selling winter vegetables, baked goods, and handmade products.  This is the original North Union farmers market, which began in 1995 and is a certified, producers only market.  North Union now runs several other markets in Greater Cleveland, Ohio.

Advantages to Shopping at Local Farmers Markets

Besides the fresh, local produce that you can find at any local farmers market, shoppers can also often find all kinds of other unique advantages.  Many local farmers will sample their fresh produce and other wares, including recipes made from their produce.  Other farmers markets will invite local chefs to give cooking demonstrations with their fresh foods.

Are you an amateur farmer or an avid gardener?  Learn from the experts how to grow your own vegetables or buy heirloom seeds from the farmers. 

Many farmers will gladly offer advice on how to pick out the best produce from their selection, and offer suggestions of how to cook or what to mix an unusual vegetable with.

Farmers Market Cookbooks

The Farmers Market Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide to Enjoying Fresh, Local, Seasonal Produce

Farmers' Markets and CSAs are among the best places to find high-quality, diverse, and exciting vegetables and fruits. But the rich array of unusual varieties can be confusing a...

$29.95  $15.58
Portland Farmers Market Cookbook: 100 Seasonal Recipes and Stories that Celebrate Local Food and ...

The Portland Farmers Market is a year-round farmers market consistently named among North America’s Top Ten. This cookbook is a tribute to the farmers, chefs and shoppers, who e...

$27.95  $11.75
Farmers' Market Favorites (Everyday Cookbook Collection)

Friendly chatter, cheery farm stands, bushels of produce, baskets of fruit and Mason jars overflowing with just-picked blooms. The farmers’ market is in full swing! With everyth...

$16.95  $4.99

Shopping Ohio's Farmers Markets?

This is what you can find if you are shopping for fresh produce in season in Ohio:


Peak season: May

Best when bright green, glossy pods that look fat or full


Peak season: June

Best when berries are firm with full red color and leafy caps. Small to medium berries are usually sweeter than larger berries.


Peak season: July to September

Best when peppers are firm, brightly colored, thick and fleshy.


Peak season: July to August

Best when firm, smooth eggplants. Smaller eggplants are less bitter, have fewer seeds and do not need to be salted before cooking.


Peak season: August to September

Best when firm, fragrant peaches with a deep soft yellow to golden color.


Peak season: August to September

Best when ears are evenly filled with fresh green husks and silk showing at the top. Corn kernels should be plump, moist and brightly colored.

Farmers Market Terminology

When traversing local farmers markets looking for produce, here are some terms that you should know in order to help you choose your fresh produce:

Artisan--Products made in small batches by hand.

Heirloom--Vintage types of fruits and vegetables, dating back at least 50 years and grown from seeds developed by farmers through years of cultivation and selection.

 Organic--Food certified to have been grown or raised without any synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, growth hormones, antibiotics, or other chemicals.

Vine-ripened or tree-ripened-- Fruit allowed to fully mature before being picked--harvested at the peak of flavor.

Producer only--A market whose vendors come from within a 100-mile radius and only sell products they grow, raise process or make themselves.

Make Your Weekly Farmers Market Visit a Social Occasion

Visits to the farmers market can be a great chance to visit with friends, either by meeting them there or by bringing them with you.  You can stroll most markets with your coffee in hand, and pick up a pastry or piece of fruit to eat with your coffee. 

Plan a dinner with your friends by cooking what you have purchased at the market together, adding some local wines, and a dessert made with some local berries or other fruit.

Updated: 09/28/2014, lakeerieartists
Thank you! Would you like to post a comment now?


lakeerieartists on 10/03/2015

Yes, well I don't do that. :)

blackspanielgallery on 10/03/2015

This is second only to growing the vegetables yourself.

ohcaroline on 06/12/2013

I cherish going to the farmer's market. We have a great one not too far from home. It's run by a Mennonite family. Their prices are excellent and the produce is the best around. It's a special day for me to go there.

ethelsmith on 12/17/2011

Yes they have taken off in the UK also, but to a lesser degree

Marie on 12/17/2011

Yes we love to support our local food market as well as the local shops. It's nice to eat things which you know have been grown or produced locally and are fresh.

chefkeem on 12/16/2011

Mmh...local foods - the best! :)

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