The Central Appalachian Mountain region is rich in farmland. Despite the terrain and the weather, farms and ranches throughout the ten-state region produce fruit, vegetables, breads, dairy and meat year round. Most of the enterprises are small, family-run operations — sometimes, their land has been in the same family for generations. Some may even be organic.
You can support these farmers by shopping at your local farmers markets. It’s a sustainable practice, and it promotes sustainability. But there are many other reasons to buy your produce at a farmers market. Here are the ten best reasons to continue to shop at farmers markets into the autumn months:
- You can find a huge selection of fall decorations, including beautiful bouquets.
- It will give you an opportunity to educate your children on the many varieties of squash, gourds and pumpkins. In fact, you can pick up a fresh pumpkin to carve.
- You can bask in the vast array of colors — reds, oranges, purples and greens.
- You’ll find foods that aren’t available in the grocery store. Try the Muscadine and Scuppernong grapes; they smell Fall-a-licious.
- Don’t forget to pick up the ingredients for a memorable candy roaster pie.
- The fresh-picked fruits and vegetables at farmers markets taste way better than store bought.
- When you make it a family outing, everyone learns something and has fun at the same time.
- Farmers markets are full of surprises. You’ll meet wonderful people who are delighted to see the food they have grown go to happy families.
- Because you’re buying direct from farmers, you’re supporting your local economy.
- You get to ask master gardeners to share their tips with you or help you find the particular varieties you’re looking for.
Any way you slice it, the food and experience from shopping at a farmers market will fill you with a wonder, appreciation and good health. Go for the food, stay for the fellowship.
Pictures: *Oakpark.com, ** Sagetrifile.blogspot.com, ***Asheville Citizen Times