Though many people buy their vegetables at the supermarket, the tastiest, freshest produce still comes directly from the farmers themselves, from their fields to your table.
The best way to enjoy some of the prime produce that the Midwest has to offer is to visit a farmers market in a town, such as Valparaiso, Indiana. Some of the benefits of shopping at a farmers’ market include the following.
Best seasonal offerings
You might be able to find asparagus in the wintertime or squash in springtime at a grocery store, but out of season (and sometimes in season too!) these crops are always imported from faraway farms in warmer climates. The offerings at the farmers market will change based on the season, and you will always get crops from the most recent harvest.
Freshest possible produce
At the supermarket, you may have to root through a display of onions or a basket of apples to find fresh ones that haven't started to rot. This is because the offerings at a supermarket are usually trucked in from faraway states, and they may have been picked weeks ago. At the farmer's market, you will find the freshest items picked on the farm that very morning, or at most a few days before.
Heirloom variety crops
Heirloom crops such as purple cauliflower, green garlic, heirloom tomatoes, and more can be found at your local farmers market. These crops do not produce as high a yield as commercial varieties, which is why you'll rarely find them at a large store. They are also sometimes delicate and cannot survive long drives without bruising or spoiling, so they are best when you buy them directly from the farmers.
Local business patronage
When you shop at a farmers market, your money goes directly to the hardworking people who have produced the crops you will be eating. There is little markup for transportation or distribution fees, and the money you spend will go back into the local economy.
The Central Park Plaza Market in Valparaiso, Indiana runs on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. between June 1 and October 29. Call Valparaiso Community Festivals and Events at 219-464-8332 to learn more.
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