On my website and social media I constantly mention the importance of getting good-quality, humanely-raised produce and meat from the farmer's market.
However, I realize that not everyone has access to farmer's market. Many people live in "food deserts", or areas where it's difficult to purchase fresh, good-quality produce.
In order to help you, my readers, I put together a comprehensive list of online databases you can use to find your local farmer's market. The reason I have multiple online resources is that I tested each site for Austin, Texas. Since I know where all the farmer's markets are, I realized that some were missing on various websites. I did enough research until I was able to find all 9 farmer's markets easily.
Another option is to simply google "farmer's market in (your city)". Google will then show you where those markets are, or the closets ones. It's also important to note that farmer's markets are only open once a week or LESS, so be sure to get to know the schedule and plan accordingly.
Before we continue, I want to clear up a common misconception about farmer's markets:
Complaint: Farmer's markets are too expensive
Answer: This is NOT accurate. Many times items at the farmer's market are much cheaper than in the store. Why? Because items go from the farm or local business straight to the farmer's market.
This means no extra handling, processing, packaging and shipping to get it to your local supermarket. Doing so actually drives up the price for items.
Below are some examples of farmer's market prices vs. store in Austin:
In my local supermarket, a pound of organic, grass-fed ground beef is $8.99. At the farmer's market a pound of organic, grass-fed beef is $6.00. Yes, six dollars!
In Austin, local brand of kombucha Budda's Brew is $3.49 at the store in a glass bottle with a label. At the farmer's market, the same amount is sold in reusable glass jar for $2.50. (pictured right)
In Austin a local brand of honey is $6.99 in the store, while the same 12 oz. amount is $6 at the farmer's market.
Microgreens: At the farmer's market, a HUGE container of microgreens is $5, compared to $6.99 at the store. A much better and healthier option because farmer's market microgreens are packed by the farmer and travel shorter distances. Sunflower microgreens in the store are not de-hulled properly, because of machine de-hulling processes. This means hulls left in the microgreens will cause them to go bad faster because of the moisture that the hulls retain.
If you aren't sure what microgreens are, they are some of the healthiest greens for you on the planet! For more information on microgreens, read this blog about it!
Austin peeps: Go to the Barton Creek Farmer's marketing and pick up microgreens from Righteous Greens! They have various assortments including radish, broccoli, sunflower and more to choose from! Righteous Greens is also at the Buda Farmer's market, 20 minutes ouside of Austin.
Cost vs. Quality
The above are just a few examples of cost difference from my farmer's market. Of course, not everything is cheaper, but that is when it's up to you to decide over quality vs. cost.
For example, I get fresh bread from the farmer's market once every other week. It's made with all organic ingredients the day before, and it's AMAZING BREAD! The bread lasts only 6 days until it starts to mold, as normal bread should.
The cost for the bread is $7-$9.00, vs. $5 to $7 in the store for the same organic bread. However, I would much rather get fresh, homemade bread made with fewer ingredients.
Store bought bread lasts for weeks without molding because it's filled with preservatives and processed ingredients for a longer shelf life. To me, paying $8 every other week for delicious fresh bread is TOTALLY WORTH the cost, vs. paying $4.99 in the store for disgusting, tasteless bread with over 17 ingredients.
Austin peeps: If you're looking for the best bread you've ever had in your life made with fresh, organic ingredients, go to Neil Sauke from New Bread Rising at the Barton Creek Farmer's Market!
Ask him for his latest list of breads and ingredients, he will provide it for you! (I'm not affiliated, just a huge fan! I didn't eat bread for nearly a decade until I discovered his. (photo pictured above right)
Farmer's Market lists:
Now that we have a better idea of the difference between farmer's market produce and prices and store-bought produce, see my database lists below that will help you find your closet local farmer's market.
1. USDA.gov Official list: Certified USDA farmer's market database. Search by state and the full list of farmer's markets will pull up.
Note: Since these are government regulated, I noticed a lot of the smaller farmer's markets didn't come up. In which case use some of the websites below for a more thorough search.
2. LocalHarvest.org: This website allows you to search specially for farmer's markets in your city. The results will pull up not only for your city, but the surrounding areas. See this example when searching for farmer's markets in Austin. It pulled up 37 hits to include all surrounding towns. I recommend this one as you can click the name of the farmer's market to get the address and official website for that market,
3. USDA Local Food Directories: Similar to the USDA.gov website, but way more user-friendly and detailed. Search by city and state, and a list of ALL farmer's markets should come up. This is a good list, but no links to the the farmer's market official websites like Local Harvest does.
4. Farmer's Market Online: Comprehensive list, but not as nice as the other websites and a bit disorganized. Because it has an older layout though, this may be more user friendly for those with bad or slow internet connections.
5. Farmer's Market Coalition: I'm only adding this because of the SUPER COOL map of all farmer's markets in the USA. This helps give you an idea of where all the markets are located, and helps you spot the food deserts where they will not exist. If you click the farmer's market directory though, it will take you to the USDA Food Directory website.
I hope this list of farmer's market websites is helpful to you! Be sure to use them and start getting to know your local farmer!
Until next time!