Shop Farmer's Markets!

The number of farmers’ markets nationally is growing, fueled by an increasing interest among consumers in buying local food and supporting more sustainable food sources. According to the US Department of Agriculture, there has been a 67% increase in the number of farmers’ markets since 2008, with more than 7,800 listed in the USDA’s National Farmers’ Market Directory.

Those who choose to shop at farmer’s markets are supporting their local community by contributing to the creation of local jobs and boosting the economy. The environmental impact is also important: buying food grown locally means less food needing to be transported into the area, thereby reducing carbon footprint and the need for excess packaging. The quality and taste of farm-fresh food is also superior to the same store-bought varieties, which are often picked when green, and then ripen as they are shipped across the country. Finally, connecting with the farmers selling you their produce makes for a more satisfying and productive shopping experience, as they can share with you the growing process and offer tips on how to use their produce.

pa-preferredBelow is an excerpt from PA’s HealthChoices Community Newsletter, brought to you by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.

Farmers have been sharing their harvests with neighbors in the commonwealth since the days when William Penn first called Pennsylvania home. Today, there are more reasons than ever to buy fresh local produce. That bounty benefits the people, communities and planet crucial to our physical and environmental health.

Some people are especially interested in buying the nearby food that helps save the fuel and reduce the pollution generated by shipping food from afar. Others are motivated by the knowledge that the money they pay for Pennsylvania produce stays close to home to nourish our state’s economy. The PA Department of Agriculture supports this homegrown purchasing through its PA Preferred program which promotes products grown or made in Pennsylvania. Now, shoppers focused solely on serving the needs of their families can enjoy fresher, better tasting, and healthier food from Pennsylvania’s local farmers.

The URL below links to a listing of almost 200 Pennsylvania farmers’ markets. One click can put you in touch with the ones in your area. Sharing it with those in your community can be the first step in bringing the fresh, wholesome goodness of Pennsylvania produce to their daily dinner tables.

http://www.farmersmarketonline.com/fm/Pennsylvania.htm

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