Eating healthily and supporting local farmers can decrease your waistline, your carbon footprint, and strengthen your connection with your community. Massachusetts farmers are as abundant as the offerings they produce, so add some local flavor to your meals by purchasing direct from the source at a farmers’ market near you or through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share.
- Take public transportation, walk, or bike to your local market and bring your own bags to minimize waste and environmental impact.
- Bring cash. Some vendors accept credit cards, SNAP/EBT benefits, and WIC farmers’ market coupons, but cash is accepted by all.
- Take your time. Browse all vendors before purchasing, and ask questions to get to know the people behind the produce.
- Don’t be afraid to try something new. You may come across produce you’ve never seen before; try it. You never know what new discovery you will make.
- Explore ideas from the Department of Public Health’s blog on ways to make visiting the farmers’ market fun for kids.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation operates farmers’ markets at each of its 18 service plazas. Local farmers can sell at these locations for free. If you are a farmer who would like to sell at one of these locations, contact Dave Fenton by email or call (413) 572-3171. To learn more about selling your products at additional farmers’ markets across the Commonwealth and for advice on best practices visit the EEA’s Farmers’ Market Resources for Farmers.
Community Supported Agriculture:
Community supported agriculture allows consumers to invest directly in a local farm. Generally an entire season is paid for in advance, though some CSAs will allow monthly or weekly payments. Throughout the season, customers get a basket of produce – sometimes including eggs, fish, meat, or dairy – delivered or available for pick-up weekly. (Contents of the weekly share are dependent on recent crops and harvests.) Each CSA is slightly different so to find the right one for you, peruse this interactive map from MassGrown.
Not sure how to use all the great new veggies you’ve received from your CSA delivery or farmers’ market trip? Try one of these recipes from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. Enjoy a summer filled with local culinary adventure!