Farmers’ market produce is renowned for being locally grown and very fresh. People argue farmers’ markets allow farmers to pick produce at the peak of flavor, preserve the nutritional content of fresh produce, and since locally grown produce does not travel as far to get to your table, the difference in mileage saves fossil fuels.
Farmers’ markets often feature produce grown naturally or organically, meats that are raised humanely on pasture, handmade farmstead cheeses, eggs and poultry from free-range fowl, as well as heirloom produce and heritage breeds of meat and fowl. In many countries with strict food safety laws, farmers’ markets can be one of the few places beyond the farm gate to purchase raw food, such as raw milk.
Farmers’ market advocates believe the markets help farmers stay in business as well as preserve natural resources. Wholesale prices farmers get for their produce are very low, often near the cost of production. Farmers who sell direct to the public without going through a middle man get a better price. It can be shown that the preservation of farmland is important for the health of the environment and water supply. According to the Farmland Trust, sustainable and managed farms conserve soil and clean water and provide a habitat for wildlife. Moreover, modern farmers’ markets help maintain important social ties, linking rural and urban populations and even close neighbours in mutually rewarding exchange.
Farmers’ markets are a traditional way of selling agricultural and home manufactured products. A weekly market day is a part of normal life in villages and town squares throughout the world. A good way for a traveller to sample local foods and learn about local culture is to attend market day, especially when it coincides with a festival, such as the fiestas in many towns in Latin America. In France and other European countries, there exist street markets, as well as covered marketplaces, where farmers and purveyors sell. Farmers’ markets are starting to appear online.