Farmer’s Markets — Your Key To Healthy Living

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle in our complex society can be challenging. Fortunately, the Puget Sound area is rich with wholesome opportunities as neighborhood farmer’s markets continue to grow in popularity and support of locally produced food. “The increases in the number of people coming to farmers markets is just phenomenal,” said Judy Kirkhuff, market master for Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets, a nonprofit group that oversees four markets. In fact, there are more than 100 farmers markets statewide, according to the Washington State Farmers Market Association.

farmers marketThese days, farmers markets are more than just produce, you’ll often find a broad range of offerings, from flowers to handcrafted cheeses and pastas, artisan breads, farmstead honey and cider, meats, eggs, herbs and other locally produced bounty. “Greater selection has yielded more shoppers, and vice versa, contributing to an upward spiral where both farmers and the public win,” said Chris Curtis, director of the Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance, a nonprofit group that manages seven markets.

Farmers markets support a sustainable food system by offering regionally-grown produce that is fresher, tastier and more nutritious than what you’d get from a supermarket. It is also good for the local economy–buying directly from family farmers helps them stay in business. Many farmers producing for a local market choose to diversify, growing a variety of crops instead of just one–a boon for biodiversity and your palate–since local crops are harvested at their peak of freshness and flavor.

The Benefits of Eating Seasonal, Locally Grown Food

  • The food is fresh, nutritious and delicious.
  • Locally-grown food does not cause as much pollution due to less travel time.
  • Keeping family farms alive keeps rural landscape alive, supporting less sprawl.
  • Spending your money where you live keeps your community thriving.
  • Small, local farms are less likely to use hormones and more likely to raise grass-fed or free-range animals, and organically-grown vegetables.
  • The shorter the route from the farm to your table (at home or in a restaurant), the more knowledge you have at hand and the more flavor you have on your plate.

What Does It All Mean?

Local: Locally grown produce doesn’t travel far, is fresher, and by definition, is seasonal. (Local does not always mean organic).

Organic: Organic foods cannot be irradiated, genetically modified or grown using synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, or sewage sludge. Animals must be fed only organically grown feed (without animal byproducts) and cannot be treated with hormones or antibiotics.

Sustainable agriculture: A system that produces food in a manner healthy for consumers and animals, doesn’t harm the environment and provides fair wages to farmers.

Seattle-Area Farmer’s Markets

Additional Resources


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