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Farmers markets: Back, and back in style

Author: Activate Allen County

February 10, 2016

Are you more likely than ever to visit a farmer’s market this spring and summer?

If so, you’re not alone because national statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show farmers markets are more popular than ever.

From green, leafy lettuce to bright tomatoes to fresh berries and giant watermelons, farmers markets offer beautiful, healthy foods that support local farmers and offer communities fantastic, locally produced healthy foods.

Farmers markets are a key link between cities and local farms and are increasingly becoming a go-to food source for a number of reasons, all of which link back to the fact consumers are smarter and more interested in healthier, local options.

Farmers markets declined in the U.S. in popularity for many years due to everything from the Great Depression to the rise of supermarkets. This left farmers markets as a costly and nearly obsolete option.

However, that trend has changed in a big way in recent years as our society has become much more aware of the dangers of mass-produced food processed and shipped long distances.

This has led to less loyalty to big, one-stop-shop grocery stores as people increasingly seek out healthier, more diverse options.

Many popular trends have also helped with the rise of farmers markets.

  • With obesity levels continuing to reach epidemic levels, people are increasingly seeking out fresh, healthy options to sugary, over-processed foods.
  • Increased understanding of long-term effects of pesticides and growth hormones have pushed people to look for foods produced locally.
  • Millennials are the most diverse generation in the history of the U.S. and seek out diverse foods. That means they’re more likely to shop around which has led to a rise in millennials visiting farmers markets for variety, according to a recent Forbes article.
  • The rise of organic and paleo diets has contributed to people needing more sources of locally produced fruits, vegetables and meats.

Looking for some local farmers markets? Check out these options and get out and support your local farmers this season.

Area Farmers Markets:

Downtown Lima Farmers Market

Tuesdays starting May 5 from 3-6 PM at Trinity Park

Bluffton Farmers Market

Saturdays starting May 2 from 8:30 am-12 pm on Main Street, downtown Bluffton

Spencerville Farmers Market

Thursdays starting May 28 from 4-8 pm at Trinity United Methodist Church, Spencerville.