You have probably heard about, or at least driven past, the Boise Farmers Market on a busy Saturday. It would be hard not to: the farmers market is located in the heart of Downtown Boise, Idaho at 11th and Grove. But have you ever stopped to check it out? If not, you are missing out on a vibrant industry fueled solely by locally grown and raised foods. For the freshest foods, and the best tasting foods, you will want to buy local. If that’s not enough an incentive, here are plenty of reasons why you should buy local and support local farmers at the Boise Farmers Market.
1. Buying local is good for the local economy. This is probably already apparent. When you spend money at a business that isn’t local, that money leaves the community. However, when you buy from a local business, like a local farmer at a farmers market, that money stays in the community, and tends to go back into the local economy. That is a good thing for everyone.
2. Fresh food is local food. Take a second to think about where grocery stores or big-box stores get their food. Unless the store is supplied by local food growers and raisers, that food at the store has to be shipped in. When that happens, the food is in cold storage, or even frozen, for up to weeks at a time. That’s not very fresh. Local food, on the other hand, is typically harvested only 24 hours before you buy it. Now that’s fresh.
3. Fresh food tastes better. This is impossible to argue. Fresh food simply tastes better. When local food is sold, it is fresh. For the best taste, buy local. Your food will be fresh, and it will taste much better than food that isn’t fresh.
4. More time to ripen. When food, like a melon, is sold at the supermarket, it is not necessarily going to be ripe. In transport, fruits have to be picked earlier, in order to survive transportation. This means that fruit isn’t always picked when it’s ripe. Local food, however, lets the farmer wait until the last possible second to make sure that the food is at its ripest.
5. Safer for the environment than organic. Believe it or not, but organic foods can actually be more harmful to the environment simply because of the air pollution associated with transporting it. If you buy local, you can help cut down on pollution, because your food does not have to travel far.
6. In season means in season. When you buy food that is in season, it tastes better. Not only that, but the food is also at its most abundant, which means it won’t cost as much. Local foods that are in season means you get the best taste and the best price.
7. Local food has a great story. This might not make your food taste any better, but it does add to the experience. When you buy your tomatoes from the farmer that grew them, or if you buy a loaf of bread directly from the baker, that knowledge can help you enjoy your food that much more. Moreover, you were able to meet the person responsible for growing or making your food. It’s a personal experience.
8. Avoid bioterrorism. This is simple. The less distance that food has to travel, the less chance there is for possible harmful contamination. With local food, you know whom you are buying it from, and that adds another layer of safety.
9. There is actually more variety. You might think the opposite of this would be true. However, local farmers that sell locally have more freedom in planting smaller crops. The short shelf life, short travel distance, and lack of a high-yield demand provides the farmer with freedom to explore different crops. They don’t have to supply a supermarket that needs a lot of product, so they can plant smaller plots of crops to test, without hurting their chances to sell.
10. Support and encourage land development. Without people like you buying their local foods, farmers and others that grow and raise food, would have no reason to stay in the area. By buying local, you are supporting their livelihood, and giving them a reason to stay local. In addition, the farms will be able to stay farms, instead of becoming developed lands. Buying local means you are keeping open space open, and supporting local business and farmers. And this all translates into better food for you.