Shop Smart, Eat Healthy – Support Our Local Farmers Markets

Harrisonburg Farmers MarketIf you have been thinking about getting into a healthier eating lifestyle or continuing on with the one you’ve already developed, this is the perfect article for you. It is undeniable that most grocery stores offer the convenience of anytime shopping however, you’ll have to admit that the fruit and vegetable products often lack a certain amount of freshness. As for the “health food” section, just how healthy are those items really? And how long do they have to travel before they land on the shelves?  If you are concerned about what goes into your body, our impact on the environment, and would like to support local farmers/businesses visit your local farmers market more often.

Benefits of Shopping at the Farmers Market

There are several benefits of shopping at your local farmers market; we will discuss four benefits that we thought were most important.

Quality and Freshness: Most of the food items at the farmers market are grown or produced naturally and organically. You’ll find that they taste better/purer than those from the grocery stores. Foods do not have to travel long distances to get to the market, hence they usually maintain their freshness, nutritional value, natural colors, and there are limited blemishes. There are also a variety of products to choose from. In fact, often times local farmers will have a supply of fruits/vegetables that are not in the typical grocery store or are in very limited in supply.

Environmentally Friendly: Whether you’re a big “save the environment” buff or, like me, who has just started to go green, you are doing your part in saving the environment when you shop locally. Since the distance from the farm/ranch/barn to the farmers market is shorter than the distance of goods traveling to grocery stores and from the store to your kitchen; less fossil fuel is being burnt and emitted into the atmosphere. Foods that are locally grown and produced use less water, maintain the natural composition of soil, employ less land space, cause less water pollution than big factories and also use less packaging, reducing the amount of garbage created in comparison to big factories.

Support Local Farming Families: When you shop at your local farmers market, you are cutting out the “middleman,” and giving the local farming families an opportunity to continue serving you. When you buy from farmers you keep the money local and are taking part in building our community.

Support Humane Treatment of Animals: The animals that supply the meats, eggs and cheeses that you buy at your local farmers market are allowed to graze freely on green grass, they are free from antibiotics and a variety of hormones. They are not housed in cramped unnatural areas, cages or feedlots; they roam freely, get ample exercise and the end result is a healthy product that is fit for consumption.

Farmers Market near You

Now that you have read the benefits of shopping locally and would like to go out and support our community but, aren’t sure quite where to go; here is a list of local farmers markets.

Waynesboro Farmers' Market: Open to the public through October, you can locate this farmers market at the Pavilion at Constitution Park, near the Greenway downtown. The great thing about Waynesboro is that paper and plastic are both accepted methods of payment. Visa/Discover/Master cards, SNAP/EBT and even Senior Coupons are welcomed. From breads, to ground provisions to woodwork, all items sold at Waynesboro farmers market are produced by the sellers. The market is opened Wednesday 2:30 – 6:00pm and Saturday 8:00 am – 12:00 noon.

Staunton/Augusta Farmers Market: Shopping at this market is not only pleasing to the eyes; enjoy entertainment from 9:00 – 11:00 am as you browse an array of goods. Parking is free in designated areas before 8:30 am and also before 10:00 am. Still, no worries; stay as long as you want, the cost of parking is only 50 cents per hour after the initial free period. Potted plants, wine, honey, sweet soaps; the list of products is endless: visit Staunton/Augusta Farmers Market Wednesday 7:00am – 1:00pm and Saturdays 7:00am – noon, now through November.

Harrisonburg Farmers Market: Voted by the Daily News Record three times as the “best place to be on a Saturday morning,” the Harrisonburg Farmers Market carries a large selection of locally grown/produce products. Find fresh chicken, spices, oyster mushrooms, organic strawberries and fresh-picked Bluegold blueberries all in one place. Market operating hours are Tuesdays and Saturdays 7:00am – 1:00pm through Thanksgiving and Saturdays 9:00am – noon afterwards. 

Visit any one of the markets listed above and take advantage of their fresh produce and locally made products. Shop smart, eat healthy and support our local farmers market.

For more information on local farmers market and benefits click on the links below: