“It’s five dollars a quart,” said the vendor.

It wasn’t the best price, but Tom handed the vendor a $5 bill and loaded a quart’s worth of peaches into his cloth bag. “Thank you,” said Tom when he was leaving the booth.

“Thank you,” said the vendor, emphasizing thanks for his patronage.

Tom meandered through the rest of the market, searching for the best deal on his weekly vegetable haul. The local band was back from their coffee break and struck up a few cords. Tom stopped and waited for their next song to begin. He pulled a peach from his bag and sank his teeth into the perfectly ripe fruit.

As you could guess, Tom’s favourite fruit is peaches, but peach season – the end of August and early September – is also when farmer’s markets are in full bloom with their summer crop. It’s the time of the year where fruit crops are finishing, vegetable crops are increasing, and canning is becoming the popular DIY.

When the band finished playing Here Comes the Sun, Tom was left with a peach pit and a sticky hand. He didn’t care; he was at the farmer’s market. The farmer’s market is the place where you can devour a juicy peach without anyone thinking you’re a slob because most people are thinking, I want something that delicious. Then, the next person approaches the vendor and pays $5 for a quart of peaches.

Last weekend, my family and I filled our reusable grocery bags with ripe produce and baked goods at the Welland Farmer’s Market. That evening we cooked a delicious meal filled with vegetables from the market and savoured some of our baked goods for dessert. My dad and I love to split a chocolate croissant.

Some farmer’s markets are more extravagant than others, but I have never seen a farmer’s market not bustling with people. I always enjoy an early morning at a farmer’s market because I can find a variety of fresh and nutritious produce and handcrafted items while interacting with and supporting local communities.

Buying food at the grocery store often becomes a mundane weekly task because you always take the same predetermined store route, picking up the same items while questioning what’s on the menu for the coming week. However, being locally grown, the farmer’s market reflects the seasons, meaning that their stock can change on a monthly or even weekly basis.

Incorporating a weekly or monthly trip to your local farmer’s market can help break up your monotonous food shopping and rotate your diet to follow seasonal foods. You will find fresher and healthier foods while doing your grocery shopping outside in the fresh air. You may also find better prices at the farmer’s market, but even if the prices match the grocery store, you are taking the time and money to support your local farmers.

Local farmers are an important supplier of our food availability because, without them, our common foods will have to be imported, causing food prices to skyrocket. Farmer’s markets allow there to be less transport and refrigeration costs in the food retail process which also leads to less transport pollution when delivering goods to the consumer.

When you visit your local farmer’s market, it’s clear where you’re getting your food from – local farmers! Farmers are there to sell their local goods, but they are also there to interact with you and the community. Ask vendors questions about their farm, work as a food retailer, or how their day is going. Farmer’s markets allow the community to connect with those who grew the produce, raised the cattle, or crafted the handmade good.

Famer’s markets provide a link for the urban and the rural communities to socialize. Creating and maintaining these community bonds promotes more community involvement, generating traffics for local businesses, organizations, and events.

Farmer’s markets create sustainability, not only for the consumer and their food-buying habits, but also for farmers, the food retail process, and community engagement. Find and check out your local farmer’s market this week!

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