They are distinguished from public markets, which are generally housed in permanent structures, open year-round, and offer a variety of non-farmer/non-producer vendors, packaged foods and non-food products.
Auf dem Vogelmarkt
(women offering hares and wild birds), 18th-19th century
Drawing by Marguerite Martyn of Soulard Farmers Market, St. Louis, Missouri, in 1912
The current concept of a farmers' market is similar to past concepts, but different in relation to other forms – as aspects of consumer retailing, overall, continue to shift over time. Similar forms existed before the Industrial Age, but often formed part of broader markets, where suppliers of food and other goods gathered to retail their wares. Trading posts began in 1930s, a shift toward retailers who sold others' products more than their own. General stores and grocery stores continued that specialization trend in retailing, optimizing the consumer experience, while abstracting it further from production and from production's growing complexities.
Modern industrial food production's advantages over prior methods depend largely on modern, cheap, fast transport and limited product variability. But transport costs and delays cannot be eliminated. So where distance strained industrial suppliers' reach, where consumers had strong preference for local variety, farmers' markets remained competitive with other forms of food retail. Starting in the mid-2000s, consumer demand for foods that are fresher (spend less time in transit) and for foods with more variety—has led to growth of farmers' markets as a food-retailing mechanism.
Your Guide to Finding the Best Farmers Markets
Farmers markets are public markets where farmers and vendors sell fresh produce, meats, dairy products, and other goods directly to consumers. These markets provide a unique shopping experience and support local farmers and businesses. In recent years, the popularity of farmers markets has grown significantly, making them a staple of many communities.
History of Farmers Markets
Farmers markets have been around for centuries, with some records of marketplaces dating back to ancient Rome and Egypt. However, farmers markets in their current form started to emerge in the United States in the 1970s, when the local food movement began to gain momentum. Since then, the number of farmers markets in the US has increased by over 500%, with more than 8,000 markets currently in operation.
Types of Farmers Markets
Traditional Farmers Markets
Traditional farmers markets are outdoor markets that are held on a regular schedule, usually weekly or biweekly. They typically offer a wide variety of fresh produce, meats, dairy products, and other goods, and are known for their lively atmosphere and community feel.
Specialty Farmers Markets
Specialty farmers markets focus on specific types of products, such as organic produce, artisanal cheeses, or handmade crafts. They are often smaller than traditional farmers markets, but offer a more specialized selection of goods.
Farmers Market Co-Ops
Farmers market co-ops are groups of farmers who work together to sell their products directly to consumers. They often have a shared storefront or stand, and may offer pre-ordering or delivery options.
What to Expect at Farmers Markets
Farmers markets offer a unique shopping experience, with a wide variety of fresh, locally-grown produce, meats, dairy products, and other goods. In addition to food, many farmers markets also offer live music, cooking demonstrations, and other activities. Prices at farmers markets may be slightly higher than at supermarkets, but the quality and freshness of the products is often worth the extra cost.
Finding the Best Farmers Markets Near You
One of the easiest ways to find the best farmers markets near you is to use online resources such as Bistro Buddy, a website that provides information on local farmers markets, including their locations, hours of operation, and the vendors who participate. Bistro Buddy also offers live maps of farmers market locations, as well as user reviews and ratings to help you make informed choices about where to shop.
You can also ask friends and family for recommendations, or check local newspapers or community calendars for information on upcoming farmers markets. If you're new to an area, be sure to ask your neighbors or coworkers where they like to shop.
A Unique Shopping Experience
Farmers markets offer a unique shopping experience and support local farmers and businesses. Whether you're looking for fresh produce, meats, dairy products, or handmade crafts, there's a farmers market out there for you. By using resources such as Bistro Buddy and asking for recommendations from others, you can find the best farmers markets near you and enjoy all the benefits they have to offer.Less