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Support Your Local Growers’ Markets

Carrots and squash at the Lake Ella Growers' Market. Photo by Jennifer Taylor.

Carrots and squash at the Lake Ella Growers’ Market. Photo by Jennifer Taylor.

When you think of farmers’ markets, what is that comes to mind? Is it the customers perusing the tables, the vendors organizing their displays, the variety of colors of the fruits and vegetables, the aromas of many types of baked breads, the pop-up tents forming a loose circle…? Or is it all of these things wrapped up in a sense of community?

Lake Ella Growers Market - honey 1

Honey from Mac’s Honey and Bee Farm. Photo by Molly Jameson.

If you have not experienced a farmers’ market that evokes such senses, then you should stop by one of the farmers’ markets where vendors selling the produce actually grew it themselves. These markets are often referred to as growers’ markets.

Still not convinced? What is it that you are looking for? Liven up your summer dinner table with fresh blueberries grown in Monticello, sweet corn that hardly needs cooking, flavorful heirloom tomatoes, freshly dug potatoes, lime-green field peas, cucumbers with a crunch, sweet yellow onions, multi-colored oblong peppers, juicy garlic, yellow crook-neck squash, dark green zucchini, shitake mushrooms harvested off oak logs, herbs just picked that morning, edible flowers….

The adjectives used to describe the produce may seem like an exaggeration until you really dive into these flavors and learn about how they were grown, where they were grown, and why the farmer decided to concentrate his or her efforts on the particular varieties. And when you are at a growers’ market, don’t be shy! Ask the farmers what they are growing and the methods they use for farming. What has gone well, what has not. They very well may tell you it’s all in building the soil, conserving the water, and supporting diversity.

Jack from Crescent Moon, selling fresh baked bread. Photo by Molly Jameson.

Jack from Crescent Moon, selling fresh baked bread. Photo by Molly Jameson.

And don’t just come for the produce. At many growers’ markets, there are so many types of fresh-baked breads and cookies, local wildflower honey, local eggs, grass-fed meats, fruit preserves, hand-made soaps, and dried vegetables and powders.

Some growers’ markets in the Tallahassee area include the Lake Ella Growers’ Market, the Red Hills Online Market, the Frenchtown Heritage Marketplace, and the Sunshine Growers’ Market. If you do not live in the Tallahassee area, visit the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Community Farmers Markets locator to find farmers’ markets near you. Take some time to explore your farmers’ markets to see who is growing their own and what markets are growers’ markets. In this way, you can help support local farmers!