If you’ve never shopped at a farmers market, put it on your list for this weekend. Buying local is a great way to get healthier products at a lower cost while benefiting your community. Johnston County has several farmers markets that offer fresh, local products, so stop by one in Smithfield or Clayton and see what it’s all about!
Benefits of Eating Local
Better Flavor – produce at a farmers market has often been picked less than 24 hours before you purchase it. These products will be much more fresh and flavorful than produce in a grocery store that has been picked days or weeks before you get it.
More Nutrients – the longer produce sits in storage and on grocery store shelves, the more nutrients it loses. Produce at a local farmers market is freshly picked and will not have had time to lose any of its nutritional value.
Safer – locally grown food is less likely to become contaminated before reaching your table. Produce at a farmers market is freshly picked and goes directly into your hands, where produce in a grocery store has had plenty of time to become contaminated while going through shipping, packaging, and distribution.
Besides the health benefits of eating local food, there is also the benefit of investing in your town’s economy. Any money you spend at a local farmers market goes right back into products and services for your community. While prices can vary, the overall cost of shopping at a farmers market is typically lower than buying the same produce in a grocery store.
Picking Out Your Products
Your first visit to a farmers market may be a little overwhelming. Many of the stands might be selling the same thing and it’s hard to know where to start. It’s always best to do a quick walk-through of the market before making purchases. Get a sense of what is available and at what prices and then go back through and make your purchases. Most vendors at a market will provide samples of their produce. Take advantage of this! It’s always a good idea to sample the food before buying it. And if you see something that you’re not familiar with, don’t be afraid to ask the vendor what it is and what it can be used for.
Check out this guide for more details on how to choose specific products.
Johnston County Farmers Markets
There are three local farmers markets here in Johnston County. They all offer fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as other products. If you haven’t already, take the time to visit one or all and see what buying local is all about.
1410 S. Bright Leaf Blvd.Smithfield, NC 27577
Friday – Sunday, 9 am – 6 pm
January through December
350 East Market Street
Smithfield, NC 27577
Friday & Saturday, 9 am – 1 pm
April through October
100 W. Main Street
Clayton, NC 27528
Saturday, 8 am – 1 pm
April through October