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A Trip to the Farmer's Market Can Be a Family Tradition

By Elsa Cremer

Crisp lettuce, sweet, ripe strawberries, moist, warm banana bread and bright, fragrant flowers. If that isn't enough to convince you of a short drive to your local farmers market, then maybe this will help inspire you. There are so many reasons to visit and shop local farmers markets, more than meets the eye. Besides the fact that most produce sold at the markets is as fresh as it comes, next to harvesting your own crop, there are many hidden benefits to shopping local.

1. Many local, family farms are struggling to make ends meet and survive, most of which have been around for generations. Large agri-business farms are making it extremely difficult for smaller, local farmers to stay a float. Because corporate farms are able to produce such large amounts of product, they can keep prices low. Support your local businesses by buying from your neighbors!

2. Help the environment by reducing the distance and time it takes for food to travel from the farm to your table. Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1500 miles before it reaches your plate, which uses a large amount of fossil fuel, oil and packaging. Cut down on waste by cutting down your foods travel time.

3. Taste Real Flavor. Many store bought produce and meats have been shipped, handled, sprayed, packaged, stored and handled some more before you buy it. All of this can alter a products natural flavor. By purchasing local and fresh foods, the flavor is the freshest and tastiest!

4. Make it a family tradition. When I was a little girl, my mom took me to our local farmers market every Saturday during the spring, summer and fall. The memories I have of picking out ripened melons, berries and a fresh cup of limeade will stay with me forever. Many markets in Minnesota are open on Saturdays, Sundays and some even daily. See below for a listing of farmers markets in your area.

5. Free recipes and cooking tips, from the pros! Few supermarkets will take time to give you cooking tips, or recipes. The farmers at your local markets are always happy to fill you in with tips on getting the most out of the food you buy. Many who are passionate chefs themselves!

6. Promote ethical treatment of animals. The meat, eggs and cheese you purchase from farmer's markets are free of pesticides, hormones and other chemicals that are detrimental to your health as well as the animals. Local farms, unlike many large agri-farms, have free-range animals that are not caged and kept in sub-par conditions.
Here are just a few local Minnesota Farmer's Markets...Bon Appetite!
For a complete listing visit: Minnesota Farmer's Market Association.

Minneapolis- Open daily 6:00 am - 2:00 pm
Over 200 vendors
Open March 30th - December 24th
312 East Lyndale Avenue N.
Minneapolis, MN 55405

Hopkins- Open Saturdays 7:30 am - Noon
Approx. 21 vendors
Open Mid June- October 27th
½ Block South of Clock tower
9th and Mainstreet
Hopkins, MN

Maple Grove-Open Thursdays 3:00 - 7:00 (Outside)
1st and 3rd Thursdays 3:00 pm - 6:00 (Inside)
60 outside vendors, 15-20 inside vendors
Mid-June through Late October (outside)
November through April (inside)
12951 Weaver Lake Road
Maple Grove, MN 55369

Categories: Things To Do, Twin Cities Picks,

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