Sure, it's easy to hit up the grocery store whenever the need arises. Grocery stores are made to be easy, what with a ton of variety to fit almost any taste. That being said, most grocers aren't that great at showcasing locally produced foods, which is a shame because every region in America has its own unique products — from fruits and veggies to cheeses, meats, beer, and more. By exploring America's best farmer's markets, you can better understand what foods grow seasonally, build relationships with local vendors, and perhaps, even instill even more pride in the place you call home.
Not only is the Pike Place Farmers Market one of Seattle's best attractions, but it's also one of the top farmers' markets in the entire country. It was the first of its kind for the city when it started in 1907, and it has continued providing the area with fresh food from over 80 Washington farmers every year. It also features the Atrium Kitchen, where Seattle chefs perform cooking demonstrations on the weekend.
Every Monday of the year, the Union Square Greenmarket brings a rush of farmers, fishers, and bakers to the streets. Over 60,000 shoppers come on the average market day, enjoying heritage meats, artisan bread, ciders, syrups, jams, jellies, and flowers from the region. It's been operating since 1976, and peak season now brings over 140 vendors for shoppers to enjoy. The Greenmarket's website offers a full map to help you plan your visit.
Now the largest farmers market in all of New Mexico, the Sante Fe Farmers Market has been opened every year since the 1960s, with today's lineup featuring over 150 active vendors. You'll find fruits, vegetables, plants, and plenty of local peppers--fresh, dried, and jellied. While it used to be seasonal, the event became a year-round market in 2002. Plus, the committee has strict rules against reselling, so you can trust that everything you see comes directly from a local farmer or artisan.
Every Saturday between May and October, you'll find the Des Moines Farmers Market bustling in the beautiful Historic Court District of Downtown Des Moines. Over 300 farmers, bakers, artists, and vendors come to the farmer's market from more than 58 counties across Iowa. The market itself is so large that it takes up nine city blocks. The market was limited to summer, but the city now offers a smaller Winter Farmers Market that's opened between November and December. If you stop by late in the year, you'll still get to see over 130 vendors plus seasonal items, like poinsettias and fresh-cut Christmas trees.
If you want to attend a farmers market in Portland, there's no such thing as bad timing. Portland actually has seven different markets spread around the city; each one opens on a different day of the week, ensuring that farm-fresh foods, local art, and other goodies are never too far away. Every Saturday, go to Portland State University to see the market there, or go to King on Sundays, Pioneer Courthouse Square on Mondays, skip Tuesdays, visit Shemanski Park on Wednesdays, choose between Buckman or Northwest on Thursdays, and end the week at Kenton Market on Fridays. Since 1992, these markets have welcomed over 250 vendors enjoyed by over 30,000 shoppers each week.
The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture is a non-profit group behind the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. One of the best in the country, Ferry Plaza welcomes over 25,000 visitors every week, open on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Vendors arrive with farm-fresh produce along with several artisan products, including homemade jams, jellies, sandwiches, and other treats the entire family will love.
If you're looking for a farmers market that guaranteed certified organic produce direct from local sellers, look no further than The Morningside Farmers Market. As of now, this is the only farmers' market in Atlanta that strictly requires vendors to verify that their produce is certified organic by the USDA. It's also the first of its kind in the region, with the first market dating back to 1995. Vendors come with fruits and veggies in tow, along with locally-produced meat that's always raised on organic feed without GMOs.
Fresh Farm Markets operates a total of 11 markets around the Washington, D.C. area, but the one at Dupont Circle is an absolute must-see. Since 1997, this bazaar has been opened every Sunday throughout the year, although you'll find slightly shorter operating hours from January through March. Amongst the crowd, you'll find over 110 farmers that come from five different states, and the last headcount showed that about 360,000 shoppers enjoy the market every year.
The largest farmers market in all of Boston, the Copley Square Farmers Market, is sure to impress even the most avid market-goers. Open on both Tuesday and Friday; you'll enjoy fresh produce, meats, and other goods from more than a dozen farmers who originate from the area. You can also find unique homemade goods, like cheese, hummus, bread, pasta, and a great selection of fresh-caught fish. It's a must-see if you're in Boston and guaranteed to be one of the friendliest and lively markets out there.
In 1998, Abby Mandel returned from the sustainable farmers' markets in Europe and was inspired to start the Green City Market in Chicago. Abby began with a list of nine local farmers, but the amount of vendors has rapidly grown through the years. Today, you'll find the market at Lincoln Park between May and October, consistently happening on both Wednesday and Saturday. In August, September, and October, you'll also find a second location in Fulton Market District. If you have the urge to visit during a colder month, stop by the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, where the market continues, albeit in smaller form, two Saturdays out of the month.