At local farmers markets, consumers can eliminate the middleman and the miles between field and table.
Locally grown food usually is ripened on the vine, meaning it has fuller flavor and nutrients. The further your produce travelers between the farm and your table, the earlier it was picked before peak ripeness to make the trip. Whether it ripened naturally or artificially along the way, the taste is not optimal.
Another advantage to buying from locally is knowing where your food originates and being able to ask the farmer if any chemicals are used, and if so, which ones and why.
Also, unique varieties of vegetables are a hallmark of local growers.
You also can ask important questions when buying meat from local producers:
- How are the animals raised?
- Do they have room to roam?
- Are they feed a natural diet?
- Is their size accelerated with growth hormones or other supplements?
Remember that when you visit a farmers market, manage your expectations. What is sold is what is in season and has weathered freezing temperatures, wind, hail and perhaps too much or too little rain.
Shop without a specific list in mind, and odds are what is available will inspire a fresh, unexpected meal.
Following is a roundup of for local sources for vegetables, fruit, meat, honey, baked goods and more. Not all vendors accept debit cards, so cash is recommended.
Abilene Farmer’s Market
The variety of goods at the Abilene Farmer’s Market is a reflection of home-grown resourcefulness.