Foodies already know this.
And the rest of us probably suspect it, but there is no better place to buy produce than at a farmers market.
1. It Benefits Your Local Economy
When food is bought at a grocery store, farmers only receive 14.8 cents of every dollar spent, but according to the Farmers Market Coalition, they receive upwards of 90 cents of every dollar spent at farmers markets.
This is money that is reinvested into your local economy as these farmers buy supplies, fuel, and hire employees.
In fact, for every million dollars in revenue earned from vegetables sold in local markets, thirteen full-time jobs are created while the same amount of revenue earned from supermarkets only generates three full-time workers.
Eating is a more enjoyable experience when you know the money you spent is supporting jobs and your local economy.
2. The Price
Since produce prices vary throughout the year, it can be difficult to determine whether it costs more to shop at farmers markets.
It turns out several price comparison studies, including those performed by the Vermont Department of Ag, Seattle NFMA, and Wholesome Wave Georgia, have found that farmers market prices are usually equal to or less than that of grocery stores.
The reason local farmers can keep their prices so competitive is because there’s no middle man, building expenses, franchise fees, or other retail-store-related overhead.
3. The Taste
According to the Farmers Market Coalition, most produce doesn’t become available at supermarkets until seven to fourteen days after it is picked.
In comparison, produce is often harvested the day before you buy it at a farmer’s market.
Fresher food means better taste.
But that’s not the only reason it nourishes your taste buds. Even if it doesn’t hold the certification, vegetables from farmers markets are far more likely to be grown organically. In fact, a 2015 Direct Market Farmers National Survey found that 75% of farmers market produce was grown using practices consistent with organic standards.
4. It Benefits the Environment
According to the Worldwatch Institute, food travels on average “between 1,500 and 2,500 miles from farm to table.” In comparison, the USDA found that more than 85% of the food found at farmers markets traveled fewer than 50 miles.
The Natural Resources Defense Council goes so far as to say that “locally produced food proves the best choice for minimizing global warming and pollution.”
5. The Ambiance
Sunshine on your face, the smell of fresh cut grass, face painting for the kids—farmers markets take the experience of shopping to a level not otherwise possible.
There’s nothing quite like shaking hands with the woman who pulled your carrots from the earth.
When you shop at farmers markets, you’re shopping local. You’re supporting the people who make your community unique and ensuring that the money you spend stays in your local economy.
Adam Lucas holds a Finance degree and an MBA from the University of Kentucky. His work has appeared in many major outlets including AARP.org and GoBankingRates.com.