Farmers markets: shop while supporting the community

It’s that time of year again. Time to enjoy life without layers, time to enjoy the extended days and time to enjoy the bounty of our local farmers’ harvests. And in the North Country, it’s easy to do all three.

Last Saturday, many farmers markets throughout the region, including the Plattsburgh Farmers and Crafters Market, opened for the season. They will continue to spring up like wildflowers, and the ones that didn’t open last week will be opening soon enough, with the final stragglers ready for business by the end of June.

It’s true that many fruits and vegetables won’t be ready until later in the season, but a visit to a farmers market this time of year will reveal more than fresh produce. Beneath the bustling pavilion at the Plattsburgh farmers market, the vendors proudly stand by their wares, products like candles, jewelry, soaps, art, honey, wine, Adirondack chairs and wildflower teas. Their products might not have been harvested in the same way an apple is plucked from a tree, but they were all crafted locally, by people many consider to be family, friends or neighbors.

This time of year there is a sparse selection of straight-from-the-ground edibles available, too, such as some of the hardier leafy greens and a few plants harvested from our local forests, like wild leeks and wild ginger. As summer continues, the variety of veggies will only increase as crops reach their peak, and the best part is, their yield is not only delicious—it’s affordable.

We have written about the benefits of buying local before, and that sentiment is still as important now as it was in the past. But farmers markets aren’t entirely self-serving. Sure, the farmers and crafters benefit from an increase in sales, and why shouldn’t they? They are providing us with healthy food grown in a sustainable manner at a low cost, but the function of these markets also serves the consumer, and the community.

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