Who doesn’t love fresh vegetables? Peas, green beans, sweet corn and tomatoes… they taste like summertime to me! Then, too, there are cucumbers, squash, and melons. Yum! When’s the last time a freshly picked peach oozed its sweet juice down your chin? If you can’t remember, it’s time for you to find the nearest farmers’ market!
What is a farmers’ market?
Public, open-air markets have been traced back to ancient civilizations like the bazaars of Persia and the Roman macellum (meat markets). Today’s farmers’ markets continue to feature local, home-grown foods, along with other locally made food products and hand-made items.
A farmers’ market may be as small as a single seller’s booth beside the roadway, to a large, indoor, air-conditioned building that features hundreds of vendors. As we’ve traveled across the country, I’ve discovered that each farmers’ market is unique. I love each and every one!
A brief history of U.S. farmers’ markets
Boston, Massachusetts, was the site of the first farmers’ market in the United States. Established in 1634, the market sold fresh produce to local consumers. It didn’t take long for other colonies to catch on to the idea, and soon farmers’ markets were everywhere! In 1752, the Easton Farmers’ Market in Easton, PA, opened its doors. Today, it claims to be the longest, continuous-running, open-air market in the U.S.
The Great Depression caused farmers’ markets to flourish. However, following World War II, the markets declined in popularity, probably due to the increasing number of local grocery stores. In recent years, farmers’ markets have seen a comeback in popularity. Along with the public’s concern for food safety and a desire to support local farmers, the markets are popular once again. Washington, D.C., is said to have the most farmers’ markets of any U.S. city, with an average of more than eight markets per 100,000 people. I never would have guessed that! Would you?
Finding a market
There are several different ways to locate farmers’ markets near you, no matter where you travel.
Google it. That’s right. Type into Google: “Farmers’ markets near me.” Immediately you’ll find not only the names and locations of farmers’ markets nearby, but you can also see a map and get directions.
Local Farm Markets.org will also help you find a farmers’ market, no matter where your RV takes you. Simply click on your current state location and from there you’ll be directed to market locations.
Ask locals. We’ve discovered several great farmers’ markets simply by asking the campground host or owner. Check with the local newspaper, too. And don’t hesitate to follow the hand-printed road signs either! We found the best sweet corn I’ve ever tasted by following this kind of sign. It turns out a 12-year-old boy was trying to earn money to buy a new dirt bike. He planted, weeded, and harvested the corn himself. We were more than happy to contribute to his goal. (And the corn was delicious!)
Do you shop at local farmers’ markets when RVing? Can you recommend a favorite market? Please tell us about it in the comments below.