There are as many reasons to support local farmers and craftspeople as there are varieties of tomatoes at the summer market. Here are a few of the best reasons:
To Savor the Flavor
Unless you grow it yourself, you simply can’t get your hands on anything fresher. Compare locally grown and produced food with standard supermarket fare, and…well, there really isn’t any comparison at all. In the U.S., several studies have shown that most of our food travels an average distance of 1,500 miles before it reaches the grocery store, and the trip often lasts up to two weeks. That’s why standard supermarket fruits and vegetables are selected for durability and long shelf life rather than flavor. At the Durham Farmers’ Market, everything you see was produced within 70 miles of the market, most much closer than that, and almost all of it has been harvested within 24 hours of market day. With such a short distance to travel, our farmers not only offer fresher produce, but a much greater variety as well.
To Celebrate the Seasons
When you eat locally, you have already chosen to eat seasonally as well, because our farmers only bring to market the produce that grows well in its natural season for our region. This means you get the best fruits and vegetables at their peak of flavor: lettuces, asparagus and strawberries in the springtime, tomatoes, peppers and sweet corn in the summer, squash and greens in the fall and winter. This is how all people everywhere have eaten by necessity until very recently. And while we’ve lately grown accustomed to getting anything we want any time we want it, many are now rediscovering the satisfaction of eating in tune with the seasons. At the Durham Farmers’ Market, you can too!
To Support Local Farmers
When you buy directly from local farmers, producers and crafters, more of your money goes to the people who do the work, because there is no distributor or middleman. There isn’t a marketing department to take its cut, or a horde of salesmen to pay. In our industrial food system, the deck is really stacked against family farms, because everything about that system favors huge producers who can use their size to lower cost and increase profit. Shopping at the farmers’ market is truly a win-win situation, because you are getting the freshest possible food and giving the people who raised it the best possible return for their hard work.
To Be Part of Your Community
The Durham Farmers’ Market is in the very heart of our community, with the new pavilion anchoring the south end of Durham Central Park. Every Saturday morning, the market becomes a gathering place for all sorts of folks. Plenty are intent on getting the freshest asparagus or that perfect tomato, but if you take a second and look around, you’ll see folks taking pictures, chatting with friends, walking their dogs, playing with their kids. Try to imagine such a scene in a supermarket (or, for that matter, just try to find a few people in a supermarket with smiles on their faces!). Now throw in live music and weekly cooking demonstrations from local chefs, and you can see what we mean: the Durham Farmers’ Market truly is part of the community.
To Know Your Food
You know you are getting fresh food at the market, but what if you have questions about how the veggies were fertilized, how the chickens were processed, what exactly goes into that goat milk soap or who picked the spinach and what their working conditions are like? Just ask – the farmers and crafters at the Durham Farmers’ Market will be happy to discuss their products, and their production methods, with you. They are justifiably proud of their efforts, and they take to heart their role as stewards of the land. In fact, you just might find yourself with an invitation to visit a farm and see for yourself where your food comes from. Now, if you have similar questions about the grocery store apples that were grown in Peru or that package of ground beef….well, good luck.