In the same way that we listened in on the experiences of our readers with CSAs, I wanted to hear from you all about farmer’s markets and community gardens as well.

While I haven’t had any experience with community gardens, I do love to admire them whenever I happen upon one. They really seem like an amazing way to be involved socially in the community, contribute toward beautifying the public space, and feed the family some good home-grown food.

Sometimes I forget how blessed I am to live in the land of year-round farmer’s markets. We don’t go often anymore because of our CSA subscription, but I love farmer’s markets for more than just the produce. I love seeing the community come together to support local vendors, and they are sure are visually appealing as well. Since our local market is on Sunday, we’ve enjoyed heading over after lunch for some lunch and live music and maybe even a dozen eggs or a few other items.

Read on to hear from a few of our readers about their experiences…

Farmer’s Markets

Photo by syntheticaperture

Depending on where you live, you may have seasonal markets or year-round, with pricing varying depending on the local farming community. As Larissa pointed out though, the cost might end up being totally worth it for you, “Our farmer’s market is a quite expensive compared to the supermarket produce, but most of the produce is organic and the smell of it is amazing- it smells real.”

It really interests me to hear how different regions have different types of markets and in fact found this description by Kim to be fascinating,

“I am part of a co-op of families that buys from our state farmer’s market (in SC). We buy certain staple items year round (onions, potatoes, grapes, peppers, carrots, lettuce, etc.) from wholesalers and we get a great price plus the produce is much fresher than in the grocery store. Sometimes it is local, but not always. We also have a changing seasonal list. These items are almost always from local farmers, and we get great prices on those too. I always buy a large quantity of strawberries and peaches when they are in season locally and freeze them.
Last year I supplemented my co-op produce (we meet every 3 weeks) with produce from several smaller farmers markets around town. I loved meeting the farmers and learning about their methods. Not to mention that some folks are willing to cut you a deal when you are a friendly, loyal customer. My favorite items to get from the local markets are tomatoes, corn, and peaches, because I like to pick them out myself. There are also farmers who sell free range eggs, grass fed meat, and local honey – score! As far as I know all of the farms are local and some of them are even organic (even though some of them are not certified as such).”

One of the biggest benefits of shopping the local farmer’s markets is learning how to eat more seasonally.

Hannah recently was inspired to do this, after reading one of my personal favorite books, “I’ve just restarted my farmer’s market habit after reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I’d fallen off the wagon a bit, but am now freshly resolved to organized our eating more around what’s seasonal for our area.”

Community Gardens

Photo by rickbradley

I still haven’t heard much from our community of readers about community garden experiences, which makes me wonder if these are less common now than they used to be.

But community gardening doesn’t have to refer to a shared plot of land provided by your neighborhood or town… as Megan mentioned in her recent article on gardening with kids, she’s been able to start co-gardening on a friend’s land– what a blessing!

I also loved hearing what Britanie Meyers does (via Facebook) with her extended family:

“My entire extended family does a huge garden together at the grandparents’ house every summer. I love working with everyone in the garden. I have great memories of picking green beans with the whole family.”

If you have any experiences to add about farmer’s markets or community gardens, please do share them in the comments!