Massachusetts Local Food Report
At last, the long-staying winter is behind us, and farmers market season is here! What better way to celebrate the arrival of growing season than to locate the markets closest to you and visit them between our distribution days? Don’t be surprised when you discover that many of our producers have market stands. Be sure to introduce yourself and let them know you’re a member of the co-op—we’re sure they’ll appreciate meeting the folks who support them year-round.
What’s So Special about Farmers Markets?
In this country farmers markets, as we know them, have been around since the seventies. They’re becoming more and more prevalent as grocery store prices skyrocket and consumers become more concerned about food quality. Not only do farmers markets allow farmers, food producers, and other artisans to deal directly with consumers, the benefits of these markets are indisputable. Some key ones are:
- We have direct access to fresh, local food, and our children can learn where the food we buy really comes from.
- Vendors gain, because they don’t have to deal with a middleman; more consumer dollars stay in their pockets.
- The environmental impact of this type of food system is greatly reduced: its method of delivery translates into less packaging (which also saves vendors money) and less burning of fossil fuels. Food production also is more environmentally friendly.
- Farmers markets ultimately support local businesses and economies, because they draw a buying public into business communities.
- Vendors can share tips about how to cook and prepare meals from the freshest ingredients. Bottom line: fresh food simply tastes better and is more nutritious than its grocery store relatives.
Here are some tips and reminders for when you venture out to the markets:
- Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring your basket or reusable bags—vendors may not have bags themselves.
- Small bills (singles and 5s) are best to have in your wallet, as it might be difficult for vendors to make large amounts of change. Some vendors may accept personal checks, but it’s unlikely that many can accept debit or credit cards.
- If it’s sunny, you may want to wear a hat and bring a water bottle. Be sure to apply sunscreen if you expect to be in the sun for more than 15 or 20 minutes.
Speaking of Community….
Last fall, we announced the launch of the Community section of our website. Since then the participation in both the discussion forum and member service listing has been, shall we say, less than robust. Much less.
SO—in an effort to jump start things, we’d like to reintroduce you to these features and remind you of their usefulness!
The community discussion forum offers a great place for members to ask questions and share information about all things local food. Click the link above—or click Community in the menu bar at the top of this page—to see how you can join a discussion or start one of your own. If for some reason you did not receive forum login information and a password within a few days of joining the co-op, simply click the Apply for Membership button in the Howdy, Stranger! box.
Members At Your Service is where members can list—for free—their service businesses. Again, click the link here or go to the Services link in the Community dropdown menu to see how you can participate. Whether or not you list a business, be sure to visit the page from time to time to see how you can support the services our members have to offer!
Many thanks for your continued support!