Benefits of Supporting Your Local Farmer's Market

Four Benefits of Supporting Your Local Farmer’s Market

Four Benefits of Supporting Your Local Farmer’s Market

Local Farmers Market

The term “local farmer’s market”, often brings to mind pop up tents full of fresh vegetables and healthy food selections from local farms.  When you visit your local farmer’s market, what you see is only a component in the overall benefit of having a community market.  Community support at a local farmer’s market has a deeper, often overlooked,  impact on the community.  Below are 4 ways that you support your community when you shop from local producers.

1. Job Creation and Economic Impact

When you purchase locally grown food from the farmer’s market, your dollars allow small businesses to create jobs in the community. Many farmers work their own booths.  However, many hire additional employees to assist customers with sales, or tend to farm duties while at market. A market encourages entrepreneurship because it provides a low overhead point of sale with a built-in customer base.

Patronage from the community puts money right back into the community.  A small community farmer’s market can generate $30,000 to $60,000 in combined vendor sales over a season.  Some larger markets do that much or more in a single market day.  Get to know the vendors at your market! You will find that many live in the same community or surrounding area.

2. You Strengthen a Changing Profession

The farming landscape as we know it is changing – from the types of food being produced to those choosing to make farming their profession. According to a recent report from the Washington Post, there’s new growth and appeal in farming:

For only the second time in the last century, the number of farmers under 35 years old is increasing, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest Census of Agriculture. Sixty-nine percent of the surveyed young farmers had college degrees — significantly higher than the general population.

Supporting these growing smaller farms help to support food diversity at your farmer’s market.  Most all farmers grow market staples and essentials. However, smaller farms are more flexible to farm small batches of more non-traditional produce, such as kohlrabi and varieties mushrooms.


3. It Helps to Restrict Over-development and Preserves Farm Land

Each year, a farmer has a lot to worry about – too much rain, too little rain, bugs and crop diseases, gas and diesel prices, and…taxes.  Taxes on farmland can be a huge burden on the farmer, especially in booming real estate towns. A farmer needs to not only be able to cover farming expenses, but to be able to make a living and provide for his or her family.  Each dollar spent at a farmer’s market helps to keep land out of the developer’s hands and keeps our nation’s shrinking farm lands in food production.

According to farmland.org, over 40 acres of US farm land are developed every hour; 24 million acres of land has been developed since 1982; 37% of America’s developed land, has been converted within the last three decades.  Simply choosing to purchase your food at the local farmer’s market instead of a big box retailer, helps to preserve much needed farm land in your own community.

4. You Contribute to Community Fellowship

Your local market is a community gathering place. You see familiar faces and have the chance to make new friends. You have the opportunity to talk with the person that grew or produced your food. Farmers are typically eager to give you their favorite recipe or advice on cooking.  Some markets have games and contests for the kids, special market themes each week, live music, vendor samples and even pet treats. Market Managers strive to make a farmer’s market a viable resource for food, but also to make it a true community gathering place with fun experiences for the whole family.

Bellevue Farmers Market

The Bellevue Farmers Market

What Does Local Mean at The Bellevue Farmers Market?

What does local food mean to you? It’s often a term we use to describe something that wasn’t shipped across the country by truck. Over the last 10 years, farmers markets have popped up all over Nashville.  We live in a great city, and we have great markets in most all of our communities.  When we started growing The Bellevue Farmers Market, a unique thing happened…we discovered we had local growers right here in Bellevue.

As our market developed, we put an emphasis on being as local as we possibly could be.  It can be a challenge for sure. There can be several reasons…maybe nobody in the immediate area produces or grows a specific food or item, so you have to search more regionally.  It could be that there are local folks, but they are committed to other markets.  Pulling together a market that is as Bellevue-centric as possible has been, and continues to be challenging, but the reward is worth it.

Shaun Daugherty of Fresh & Local on his farm in Bellevue

Shaun Daugherty of Fresh & Local on his farm in Bellevue.

Philip Bennett of Buffalo Road Produce with eggs fresh from the farm.

Philip Bennett of Buffalo Road Produce with eggs fresh from the farm.

How do we define local? We define it as community.

We are proud to be one of the few, if not the only, markets in the Nashville area in which a majority of the produce sold is grown less than 5 miles from our market. Even more, the majority of our artisans and food merchants live in or near Bellevue. From a community stand point, that means when you purchase goods at The Bellevue Farmers Market, you are giving back to the community.  Our vendors represent Bellevue families. These families live and shop here. When we go to local stores, we see them shopping in the same stores.  When we attend our children’s event at schools, we see these families at the same school with their children. When we go to vote, we see these families at the same voting station. For us, it’s about knowing where our food comes from and eating healthy, but it goes far beyond that. We have a special thing happening here in Bellevue.

The Jacobson Family of Pegram will be a new addition to The Bellevue Farmers Market in 2016!

The Jacobson Family of Pegram will be a new addition to The Bellevue Farmers Market in 2016!

As you shop the market this year…we encourage you to get to know the growers. Ask questions! If you don’t see something that you are looking for, feel free to ask them why.  Locally grown means what is in season for the local region.  They can let you know when to expect to see certain foods. Ask where the food was grown, and the methods used to grow it.  This is your market, Bellevue! We look forward to serving you in 2016!

Local honey bees at Buffalo Road Produce

Local honey bees at Buffalo Road Produce

From early April, Cherokee Purples being grown in Bellevue at Fresh & Local.

From early April, Cherokee Purples being grown in Bellevue at Fresh & Local.

Fresh lettuce from Bellview Produce grown off Gower Road in Bellevue.

Fresh lettuce from Bellview Produce grown off Gower Road in Bellevue.

The 2016 season of The Bellevue Farmers Market will feature more produce growers than ever! Over double from last year! We will tell about our other growers and farmers in our next blog!

The Bellevue Farmers Market returns May 6th to Red Caboose Park.  The market is held every Friday from 5pm to 7:30pm, May thru October. Click here to see our events schedule.

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Tips On Storing Fresh Vegetables

The Bellevue Farmers Market offers a wide variety of locally grown produce at our market each Friday night. There’s nothing much better than a local, pesticide free, ‘homegrown’ tomato.  Particularly, a Cherokee Purple.  Purchasing your food at The Bellevue Farmers Market is not just an investment in local farms. It is an investment in your personal health. We want to help you protect your ‘investment’ for as long as possible. MyFitnessPal.com recently posted a chart with tips on storing fresh vegetables. Be sure to download this convenient tip sheet below.

Each Friday night, through late October, you can purchase the best produce, eggs, and meat available in Bellevue, TN from these local vendors at:

Fresh & Local (Grown in Bellevue)

Buffalo Road Produce (Grown in Bellevue)

C&S Produce (Grown in Ashland City)

Walton’s Hill Farm (Grown in Springfield)

Bellview Produce & Collective (Re-seller from Busy Bee Blueberry in Greenbrier, TN; The Orchard in Cross Plains, TN; Bellview Farms in Bellevue, TN; Friesens Farm in Pleasantville, TN)

Pinewood Farm (Grown in Hickman County)

(Meat) Giving Thanks Farm (Clarksville, TN)

The Bellevue Farmers Market is held each week at Red Caboose Park from 5pm to 7:30pm.  The playground is open for children while parents shop, and the Bellevue Harpeth Historic Association will have the Belle Vue I cabin open for tours.

DOWNLOAD THE STORING FRESH VEGETABLES TIP SHEET

The Bellevue Farmers Market @ Red Caboose Park

A huge thank you to the Bellevue Community for coming out this past Friday night to support The Bellevue Farmers Market inaugural event at Red Caboose Park! Over the last 3 years, the market has grown, and will continue to grow with your support!

As we look forward to the upcoming holiday weekend, make your plans now to come out to the market this coming Friday! Be sure to stock up on steaks and meat for your grilling needs for the Fourth of July! We will have a wide selection of produce from local farms, as well as a variety of breads, eggs, cheese, honey, cobblers, and other great finds!

The market is held each Friday from 5pm to 7:30pm at Red Caboose Park in Bellevue.

Meet Our Market Farmers – Buffalo Road Produce

Buffalo Road Produce

Buffalo Road Produce (Buffalo Valley Farm) is a small scale CSA/market farm located on the westernmost edge of Davidson county, between Bellevue and Pegram. We focus on sustainability and quality above all else. We are family owned and operated on our own land which we’ve owned since the early 60’s. We offer a robust variety of produce and other farm goods including free range eggs from our flock, honey from our hives, and Shiitake mushrooms from our mushroom logs. We are also currently experimenting with and trying to produce our own homemade soaps, candles, and other novelty items of the homestead nature. 100% of produce we offer is started and grown on our farm, using certified organic seed and only sustainable farming practices. Methods that our ancestors used in the old days that are tried and true. We strongly believe that these methods are the RIGHT way to farm and we are proud to say that we practice these exclusively. It’s not the easy way to do it by any means, but we are rewarded with knowing we are doing our part to take care of the planet we live on and the people who enjoy what we offer.

www.buffaloroadproduce.com

BFM Location:
Friday Night – BUMC
Saturday Morning – TailGate