Winter has hit Florida. It’s been *ahem* brutal this year, which means that we’re facing temperatures of 60 degrees instead of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Sorry, all my northern friends, you’ll just have to come visit!
Now, I love almost everything about the seasons here in Florida, but one of my favorite benefits is that I have access to fresh, local food all year-round! We enjoying harvesting produce from our church garden, and we even have a small veggie and herb garden in the backyard. But, one of our favorite ways to eat healthy (and save money) is to shop at our local farmer’s market.
Since eating locally is such a big part of our family, I’m so excited to help spread the message of Fresh From Florida!
Florida farmers make it easy to find colorful, fresh produce close to home. Here are three things you probably didn’t know about shopping at your local farmer’s market.
Many Farmer’s Market Vendors Accept WIC
I didn’t realize this until recently, but did you know that moms can use their WIC cards at most local farmers markets? This is just huge in my opinion. Getting fresh, healthy food on the table sometimes seems like a challenge for families using WIC. But the solution is so simple! Vendors at approved farmers markets participate in the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). Families who participate in WIC are given coupons that can be used to buy locally grown, fresh Florida fruits and vegetables. This produce can be purchased at authorized farmers markets from April 1 to July 31.
To see if your local farmer’s market accepts WIC coupons, check this market directory.
Farmer’s Markets Have More Options than Your Grocery Store
Have you ever noticed that the produce section in your local grocery store is surprisingly small in comparison to the size of the whole store? They make space for aisles and aisles of 14 different types of cereal, but when it comes to produce, space is pretty limited. One of the things I love about my local farmer’s market is that they always have a great variety of produce. Different farms and families prefer varying breeds or types of produce. What you end up with is a beautiful selection of produce, and you can almost taste the love and care that goes into these crops.
Wondering what’s likely to be available at your local market this week? Click here to view a chart of what’s in season in Florida. Some of our favorites during the winter months are sautéed yellow squash and spinach as a quick, colorful side dish!
Shopping at Farmer’s Markets can Save Big Bucks
One last thing you might not know about shopping at farmer’s markets is that it can save you big time on your grocery bill. Why? Becuase local farmers don’t waste time and money trying to grow crops out of season. Since they grow produce in season, they spend less on maintenance and overhead costs. And then they pass on this savings directly to you! No middle man, no paying for shipping costs or storage. Your produce comes straight from the farm to you. Florida farmers make it easy for you to eat fresh produce year-round, and keep a little change in your pockets, too.
Now, if you’re not up for shopping at your farmer’s market just yet, don’t worry. You can still buy fresh, locally sourced food from many grocery stores. Many Florida restaurants are also joining in the Fresh From Florida movement, too! Just look for food, produce, seafood, labeled Fresh From Florida as you shop or dine.