Benefits of buying direct from the producers
The Farmer’s Market is a pivot point for community development on many different levels. Many community elements are positively influenced by the existence of a strong farmers market. Such elements include arts and culture, agriculture, tourism, the retirement economy, community health, quality of life, environmental protection, and social development in the Quesnel area. Other advantages to buying locally are:
- You are taking advantage of the opportunity to buy super fresh produce, which is generally picked a very short time prior to you purchasing it, (hours to a couple of days). It tastes better and will last in the fridge longer!
- Produce is of a higher quality as it stays on the plant longer, maximizing its nutrient content, appearance, texture, and of course, taste.
- Less processing and preparation at home is needed for market produce, compared to over-ripe or under-ripe foods that were imported into BC and sold at the local supermarket.
- It will heighten your awareness of how much tastier in-season foods are are than out-of-season.
- Buying local produce supports the local farming community, as the money you spend on the produce goes directly to the farmer and does not get intercepted by any middle men.
- More local jobs within the agri-food sector will be maintained and created if the demand for local products increases.
- Purchasing foods grown and produced in BC sustains farming in BC communities and keeps BC variety products available.
- You are helping to increase the sense of community in the city and maintain community character.
How to Shop at the Farmers' Market
- Bring your own bags or baskets - Reduce, re-use, recycle! Bags are provided at all vendor booths, but bringing your own re-used bag or cloth bag is always appreciated, and helps reduce waste.
- Bring children! - Kids are more than welcome to attend the market and it can also be an educational experience! When asked where food comes from, most kids will answer "the supermarket". At the Farmers' Market they can see fresh-picked vegetables, as they would come from the ground, tree, or plant. It could also pique their interest and cure any "pickiness" of what they are willing to eat.
- Shop early - If anywhere, "The early bird gets the worm" is very true at the Farmers' Market. Frequent customers know that if you're looking for something specific, best come early or it could be all gone. After all, selection is limited and choice produce will certainly disappear first.
- Make the rounds first - There's always a few booths who will be providing similar, if not exactly the same, items. They also know that they are competing with each other, so prices should reflect accordingly. However, it's always good to make sure you're getting the most out of your dollar, so compare!
- Don't come with a firm shopping list - Of course most people don't leave home for the supermarket without a list so they don't forget anything that's needed. While this isn't a bad idea, try not to stick to those items only. There's plenty of variety at the market, so keep a lookout for something you may not have had before.
- Try something new - As mentioned above, there's plenty of variety at the Farmers' Market, and it's a great place to learn about new foods. Never tried kohlrabi or garlic scapes? Ask the vendor how to select the best and prepare it.
- Chat with the vendors - Who better to get tips on what you're buying than from the vendor themselves! Get tips on how to cook more unusual items, and how to store them for maximum freshness. Plus, the Farmers' Market is all about seeing where your product is coming from, why not from whom as well?
- Plan to go straight home - Generally you will find your vegetables a lot more enjoyable if you get them home and into the fridge right away. If going home right away isn't an option, bring a cooler to keep them fresh in the car while you run other errands.
- Relax and have fun - Shopping at the market can be quite a social, spontaneous event. Take your time and enjoy the day. Hang out and spend time with people you keep meaning to call, enjoying the live music provided every weekend. Head home afterwards feeling satisfied that you did a lot more in your day than just getting groceries.