The benefits of an in-town farmers market
While they’re seemingly ubiquitous in NYC, venture outside of city limits and farmers markets can often become a little sparser. That said, the suburbs that boast high-quality farmers markets are often among the most desirable for soon-to-be transplants. Irvington, Pleasantville, Montclair, Glen Cove, Port Washington and Greenwich—among MANY others—boast impressive markets seasonally or throughout the year, offering the best of locally-grown and sourced produce, meats, cheeses and other specialty foods.
So what can a farmers market tell you about a town? Plenty—the benefits are numerous and can shed some light on a town’s priorities, residents and even future evolution.
Who’s getting in on the action?
Once reserved from small, local merchants, farmers and food producers, more and more community organizations are getting involved, from banks and area stores to government offices and candidates, schools, religious organizations and health-based businesses. Check out who’s at the market, which will provide a good insight into whether or not these types of local initiatives are paramount, or if this town has a way to go.
Chat with the merchants
Is this their favorite market? If so, why? Do they sell a lot? Are the people particularly friendly? Is this THE can’t-miss of the week for residents from all corners? These vendors likely work the farmers market circuit week in and week out and can provide some interesting comparative insights from their journeys.
Who runs the farmers market?
Is it a volunteer board? A mayoral initiative? A local business that lends support, funding and resources? Either way, a farmers market is great! But this insight can help you surmise the type of community involvement for all facets of town improvement and enhancement, and the level of pride people and their local government officials have in their ‘burb.
Get your Hands Dirty with an Organic Vegetable Garden
The Suburban Grocery Store Scene
Make the Most of a Small Backyard
Who buys from the market?
No matter the market, likely the majority of traffic comes from area residents, stocking up for the week—or picking up a few delicious goodies for the weekend. But does the farmers market draw in local chefs, caterers and bakers? Has the farm-to-table movement hit this town yet? Are local restaurants and purveyors looking local, or is this town more quick serve, chain and standard dining establishments? Neither is better or worse—it’s just a matter of what you and your family prioritize!
Overall, what’s the vibe?
Is it a simple market with local farmers and food purveyors selling their goods? Or are there activities, live music, sampling and other fun, family-friendly goings-on? Is the farmers market a buzzing hub on the weekends (or during the week), and something residents don’t miss? Do families come out together, or is it a “run in, run out” kind of market?
Everyone’s buying local, and leaving the city doesn’t mean abandoning this delicious trend. Check out the local farmers markets in your prospective town, and you’ll gain unique insight into the type of community you may be calling “home.”