Why You Should Shop at Auburn's Local Farmers Markets
Ever been to a farmers market? Auburn's got several, and there are plenty of reasons to visit. Here are my 5 top reasons why you should check them out:
It's Healthier for You
After produce is harvested, it quickly starts to lose its nutrients. In fact, the fresher the produce is, the healthier it is! According to a study performed by the Institute of Food Research, fresh vegetables can lose up to 45% of their nutritional value if they are not consumed quickly. Farmers markets often sell produce that was picked mere hours earlier, whereas some grocery stores don’t get their produce on the shelf until more than two weeks after it’s been harvested.
It Tastes Better. Seriously.
Large corporations typically pick their produce before it’s truly ready for harvesting, so it’ll take longer to spoil, which gives it a longer shelf life. Because of this, conventional produce is often lacking in flavor, color and nutrients. Produce at farmers markets is almost always picked at its best, so you get all the flavor, color, and nutrients you can.
It's Better for Your Peace of Mind
A local farmer isn’t just the picturesque “Old MacDonald” we often have in mind when we think of a farmer. These farmers are real people with real relationships with their market. They know many of their customers, and sincerely care about providing you with the best possible produce. It’s personal, and you can easily get information about the conditions of their farms and which pesticides, if any, they use.
It Helps Local Farms
When grocery stores sell produce, the farmer who grew it only gets a tiny portion of the sale. When someone buys produce at a local farmers market, however, a much larger portion of that money goes directly to the farmer, which allows her to reinvest it and continue to develop the farm. Buying produce from a local market ultimately helps your community and helps farmers to continue to grow and develop their farms.
It's Better for Sustainability
Local, well-maintained farms help keep the environment clean by preserving natural water sources, keeping soil fertile, removing and utilizing carbon in the atmosphere, and by using less gas to transport produce. Basically, by supporting local farmers, we’re helping keep our planet beautiful for the future!
Here are a couple of local farmers markets you should definitely visit:
Parkway Farmers Market
Located on Pepperell Parkway in Opelika, this family-owned farmers market has all the fresh vegetables, fruits and seasonal plants you could want — including pumpkins in October and Christmas trees in December. They’ll be relocating soon to the 2300 block of First Avenue, so make sure to visit their website and Facebook page to find their address and hours.
The Market at Blooming Colors
Located by the intersection of South Donahue and South College streets, this farmer’s market features some of your favorite fruits and vegetables like watermelons, peaches, vine-ripened tomatoes, peppers and even okra. Check out their website here to find their hours and a full list of their offerings.
Interested in learning more about local farmers markets? Then check out this Be Well feature of the Market at Ag Heritage Park. And, as always,
Be well, Auburn.
Photography: Jack P. and Evan C.