EDITORIAL: Show some love to our farmers markets
When was the last time you visited the farmer’s market? There are tons of reasons to support our markets and take advantage of their many offerings.
Fresh produce is usually the first thing that comes to mind when we think of farmers markets, but they are so much more. Flowers, plants, and arts and crafts are just some of the other offerings you will find.
Florentines are blessed to have two farmer’s markets – Pee Dee State Farmer’s Market on West Lucas St. and the new City Center Farmers Market on Sanborn St. near downtown Florence. In honor of National Farmers Market week, which runs from Aug. 1-7, we thought it the perfect time to remind our readers to show some love to both of our markets.
“By shopping at a farmers market,” said S.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers, “you are supporting your neighbors – and what better time than during the abundant summer months for South Carolina produce. The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that farmers markets are essential businesses, and I’m grateful for the work they do to connect people to farmers and fresh food.
” Farmers markets are an ideal venue for smaller farms to sell food directly to the public, lowering the barrier for people to buy fresh local products. They offer a unique face-to-face experience where consumers can meet the individuals responsible for their food.
Did you know American farmers only receive about 14.3 cents of every dollar Americans spend on food, with the rest going to off-farm costs like distribution, marketing and retail? Selling at farmers markets cuts out some of those other costs, allowing farmers to earn more money from what they grow.
Farmers markets also continue to improve food access for underserved communities, helping more people obtain fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2020, $24.4 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits were redeemed at farmers markets across the nation, a 35% increase from five years earlier.
From www.youmustgethealthy.com, here are eight good reason to support your local farmers market:
1. You’re Supporting Local Businesses: From a purely economic perspective, supporting businesses local to you means that money stays in the area where it can continue to benefit other local businesses and people.
2. Better Prices For Better Food: Because farmers markets are held at limited, predetermined times, farmers waste less time and money to produce and sell their bounties, savings that are often passed to you, the customer
. 3. It’s Healthier Too: The food you buy at farmers markets is often less processed with fewer preservatives than the stuff you can get at the grocery.
4. Shorter Drives: Farmers have shorter distances to transport their food, and you get to save a trip into town. That saves you time to do other things like reading a book or watching a show.
6. You’re Building A Community: Your local farmers market is a place to come together, meet new people and socialize.
7. Discover New Things: Farmers can often teach you something new about both the foods that you are unfamiliar and those you’ve been eating your entire life. That sharing of knowledge and experience helps us all do better in life.
8. You Get To Be Outside! Feel the warmth of the sun as you breathe in fresh air while you are shopping. Be sure to put the farmers market are on your next shopping list.