Farmers Markets 101

By: Caitlin Luck, Michigan Ag Council Ambassador

Summer is the season for farmers markets. Supporting local farmers within your own community can be an excellent way to connect with those who grow the food you eat and have tasty, in season flavors to add to your recipes at home.

While attending farmers markets is great, it is also important to understand how the food we choose is grown and spark conversations with farmers to learn more about their operations.  This simple practice can encourage awareness about the agriculture industry and promote healthy communities.

You might be asking, “what types of questions should I be asking?” Here are suggestions for simple questions that you can use to strike conversation with farmers at your local markets.

1.  What is in season currently or what is about to go out of season?

This can provide avenues for you to make new selections and introduce exciting flavors into your culinary creations. Choosing produce that is in season within your community can ensure a large variety of fresh and fragrant ingredients that you may not get anywhere else.

2.  Where was this grown?

Understanding where your food is grown will allow you to make purchases from farmers who live directly in your community and open the possibility for becoming a regular customer while also supporting a healthy community.

3. What growing methods do you use?

Everyone has different methods and preferences for how the food they consume is grown. Being upfront and understanding the differences in growing methods can help you to make the best decision for your family using informative facts.

 4. Do you have recipe suggestions?

The farmers who grow the ingredients you use typically have the greatest knowledge on ways to use what you purchased. Ask how they incorporate their product into meals for their families.

Now, the next time you attend your local farmers market don’t be afraid to initiate conversations with farmers. Being informed and making connections is the best way to grow awareness about agriculture and the food you consume.