The Barrow County Farmers Market is open for its second season! Located behind the Historic Courthouse in Winder, the market runs every Saturday from 8:30-12:30 and offers fresh veggies and other food produced by local growers. If you missed out on the market last season, make sure to put it on your calendar from now until the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Here are some reasons that farmers markets are good for your community and your taste buds.
Eating Seasonally Tastes Better
Local produce is seasonal. In early spring the greens are in, as are many root crops like carrots and radishes. I’ve always liked carrots, but eating a freshly harvested carrot is a life-changing experience if you’ve only ever eaten grocery-store carrots shipped from California that have been sitting in storage weeks or months. The difference in the sweetness, juiciness, and crunch is unbelievable. To eat food that is out of season locally means it has to be shipped hundreds or thousands of miles. While eating veggies is always a healthy choice, sometimes this shipping distance and packaging and storage requirements takes the joy right out of eating vegetables. Eating food that is fresh and in season from a Barrow County farm will change the way you think about eating your vegetables. Following the food season means something fresh and new every month or so; greens and roots in spring to (botanical) fruits like squash and tomatoes in summer and back again to greens and roots in the fall, fresh-picked and flavorful.
Find Something New
As they say, variety is the spice of life, and the farmers market is the best place to experiment with something new. Whether it is a new variety of an old favorite, like heirloom Costata Romanesco zucchini to change it up from our trusty yellow crooknecks, a new baked good (if you haven’t had the cinnamon rolls you are missing out!), or a bouquet of flowers for mom on Mother’s Day, you can find something exciting at the market.
Learn Something New
Farmers markets are often more than just a pop-up store, and the same is true of the Barrow County market. This year there will be live music, kid’s activities, cooking demonstrations, information and services from local non-profits, and more! I Check out information and pick up seeds our watermelon growing contest for grades K-12 this weekend.
Local Food Supports Local Economies
Shopping at the farmers market is an easy way to support your local economy. Vendors that sell at the market are local farmers and small businesses; money spent with them stays local and circulates locally more than money spent at corporate locations.
Studies have shown that people have more conversations at farmers markets when compared to the grocery store. Connection to the community you live in is important. The farmers market is a place for community members to bond and for a place like Barrow County, whose population is changing rapidly, to maintain a little bit of small-town friendliness and charm. And whoever imagined that a chore like grocery shopping could feel like happy hour with friends?
Even Gardeners Need Farmers Markets
I love to grow vegetables. But, my husband and I both work forty or more hours a week, and we have two small kids. Our time is limited. I grow more spring and fall vegetables, things that can sit in the garden for a couple of weeks until I am ready to use them, or potatoes that keep for months after being harvested, rather than a lot summer vegetables that have to be harvested every day or so, and that tend to all come in at one time. Instead, I opt buy them at the farmers market, in the exact quantities I need. Also, a lot of us in Barrow County folks are now growing in subdivisions, where you are less likely to have the standard 25’x25’ veggie patch. I need more carrots than can grow in one or two raised beds!
Local Food Systems are Important
Last year we witnessed the fragility of our global food supply as grocery store shelves stayed empty and processing plants were temporarily slowed or stopped. Everybody was looking for a local farmer. We need the large-scale global food system, and I don’t see that changing (and, um, neither chocolate or coffee grow here, so there’s that going for it). However, we also need a strong local food supply that help can fill in the gaps and bring the flavor and local resiliency that can be lost in our global food chain. That local food supply has been hit in recent decades, but it is making a comeback and you can make it stronger by buying from local farmers.
Whatever your reason for shopping at the market, you are guaranteed to find something fresh and delicious. Warm and fuzzy feelings from doing good by your local farmers and community are free.
See you Saturday!