Once summer starts, I almost exclusively grocery shop downtown at the Simpsonville Farmer’s Market. There are several reasons I choose to support the farmer’s market and spend my time & money there as opposed to a chain grocery store:
- I get fresh, nutritious foods. Seriously, nothing tastes better than produce that has just recently been brought in from the field. It doesn’t just taste good, either—it’s good for me!
- Further, I know where my food comes from. At the Farmer’s Market, I meet the people who grow the food, who raise the animals. In talking to them, I learn about what (if any) pesticides they use and how they treat their animals. For example, I know that the bacon I buy comes from fat, happy pigs who lived a really nice, comfortable, happy pig life. In fact, I’ve even been over to the farm to see them—and their chicken friends who roam free, enjoying a happy chicken life without hormones and antibiotics.
- The vendors share with me recipes and ideas for cooking the fresh, local foods they sell me. Honestly, half the time I don’t know what on earth I’m doing in a kitchen, but I have gotten some fabulous advice from the very people most familiar with the food.
- I get to connect with people from our community. I meet and get to know people as we stand in line and chat about selections. We share ideas and opinions on the produce and what to do with it. I’ve learned from fellow market-goers much in the same way I’ve learned from the vendors. And this sense of community is important—it contributes to one of the best things about Simpsonville: the small-town feel we maintain despite a population of nearly 20,000.
- I get to support local farmers. It’s not easy trying to make it as a farmer (or really as any small business) in today’s globalized economy. By purchasing straight from the people who grow or raise the food, I’m helping to give them a fighting chance, and that’s important because…
- It stimulates our local economy. When we spend our money locally, it stays local. Also, spending money at the farmer’s market spurs spending at other small, local businesses—particularly those in our downtown area.
Really, once summer starts, I can make full, healthy, tasty meals for me and my family with ingredients that come from the Farmer’s Market and from local downtown merchants.