Want to try a new food? Looking for homemade goods like preserves? Try visiting your local farmers market — you can find a world of wonders there.
History of Farmers Markets
The concept of farmers markets goes back centuries—it’s said that they originated in Egypt over 5,000 years ago. In America, farmers markets popped up in the 1600s and the 1700s. The first farmers market is said to have opened in Boston Massachusetts in the year 1634 while another well-known farmers market opened up in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1730.
Today, more and more people, especially young people, are interested in farmers markets. They’re a great way to patronize local businesses, such as local bakeries and artists. They’re also the ideal place for eating local food and socializing with other people in your community. At the farmers market, you can get ideas for new projects, hobbies, and recipes. And fortunately, you can find farmers markets everywhere nowadays.
Farmers Markets Today
While most are hosted in parking lots and closed off areas of the street, many farmers markets are hosted by universities and faith-based institutions. Each farmers market also has its own identity, showcasing different types of goods and products. A few examples are listed below.
- Ponce City Farmers Market. Located in the Atlanta, this farmers market is a great source for artisanal goodies. Their vendors sell a variety of artisanal food from chocolates and ice pops to Greek yogurt.
- Kensington Youthmarket. This Brooklyn farmers market sells fresh fruits and vegetables with a twist. Local youth from the neighborhood operate the stands on behalf of the local farmers, giving them valuable business experience.
- Seattle’s Neighborhood Farmers Markets. This organization hosts seven different farmers markets at seven different locations. Beyond fresh produce, this market hosts non-profit organizations that educate visitors about sustainable gardening and agriculture. They also host events, like the Zucchini 500.
- Rice University Farmers Market. Every Tuesday, this Texas university hosts a farmers market in which vendors sell food and beverages. Some of their vendors sell bones for dogs, wine, olive oil, and even baked goods.
- Illinois Products Farmers’ Market. At this farmers market, you can find a variety of food. You can also find an assortment of other goods, including soy candles, plants, birdhouses, and dog collars.
Find a Local Farmers Market
Interested in visiting a local farmers market? The U.S. Department of Agriculture has an active directory of farmers markets throughout the country. You can narrow down your search based on the location of the market (such as a church parking lot or a closed-off street), goods up for sale (such as crafts and fresh fish), and accepted payments.
Would you rather start your own farmers market? First, you’ll need a lot of support from your local community. Ask neighbors to join you in contacting five to ten vendors—the more interested parties you find, the better. For the market’s location, consider asking a local religious institution or community center if you can host the event in their parking lot.
For more tips on creating your own farmers market, check out the Organic Authority website. Also be sure to check your local government’s website to see if they have any rules or regulations about farmers markets. And once you’ve got your farmers market up and rolling, don’t forget to register your local market with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.