Locating the best local produce

farmers market
Erin Labelle


More and more farmers are now selling their products directly to the public. They do this via produce subscriptions, farmer’s markets, u-picks, farm stands, and other direct channels. To find farmers' markets, family farms, locally-grown produce, grass-fed meats and dairy, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, check out LocalHarvest.org, a website that allows you to do a search by zip code.

About farmers' markets

Farmers' markets are one of the oldest forms of direct marketing by small farms. From the traditional "mercados" in the Peruvian Andes to the unique street markets in Asia, growers all over the world gather weekly to sell their produce directly to the public. In America, farmers' markets are now making a comeback.

In a farmer market, a group of farmers sell their products once or twice a week at a designated public place like a park or parking lot. Some farmers' markets have live entertainment. Shopping at a farmer market is a great way to meet local farmers and get fresh, flavorful produce.

About produce subscriptions

Many farms offer produce subscriptions, where buyers receive a weekly or monthly basket of produce, flowers, fruits, eggs, milk, coffee, or any sort of different farm products.

A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is a way for the food buying public to create a relationship with a farm and to receive a weekly basket of produce. By making a financial commitment to a farm, people become subscribers of the CSA. Most CSA farmers prefer that members pay for the season up-front, but some farmers will accept weekly or monthly payments. Some CSAs also require that members work a small number of hours on the farm during the growing season.

A CSA season typically runs from late spring through early fall. The number of CSAs in the United States was estimated at 50 in 1990, and has since grown to over 1000.

© Used by permission of LocalHarvest.org

Published May 2005