Top 5 reasons to shop Albert Lea Farmer’s Market

Published 9:15 am Thursday, July 28, 2016

Guest Column by Patti Floyd

Patti Floyd is an Albert Lea Farmer’s Market vendor and is also one of the market’s board members.

1. You’re supporting the local economy. Each vendor at the market is a small business. Some are relying on their farmer’s market sales to pay bills, some are looking for a little business experience, some are trying to offer their children a better life. They are your neighbors and fellow community members. Get to know them, and support them as they support other businesses in our community.

Patti Floyd

Patti Floyd

Email newsletter signup

2. It doesn’t get any fresher unless you grow it yourself. You can speak to the grower and ask what, if any, chemicals were used. You can be sure that the fruits and veggies were harvested recently, some that very day. Eating locally-grown fruits and veggies while they are in season gives you the most nutritional benefit. Since the produce is picked fresh, it is picked at its peak — not before. And it doesn’t have to tolerate long shipping times and distances. Never had purple potatoes before? You can ask the grower if they are nutritionally different from red or white potatoes and what’s the best method to prepare them.

3. We are environmentally friendly. So friendly that, as I’m typing, I’m enjoying the weather and minding my booth. No excessive packaging, no long distance shipping and minimal waste.

Many of our vendors compost their garden waste; some might even be willing to share if you ask. Walking through the booths at the market is a wonderful way to get some sunshine, fresh air and exercise.

4. It’s just a little different every time. Different produce will be available throughout the season.

Our vendors grow the produce they sell at market, so the produce available is dependent on Minnesota seasons and the weather. Many of our vendors will take special orders to make sure you get fresh produce, as well as treats, baked goods and gift items customized just for you.

Bakers and crafters are always trying new things to add to their list of old favorites — sometimes they’re even looking for product testers. Invite some friends and enjoy the atmosphere, or make some new friends.

5. The market is a family affair. Sign your little ones up to be Market Sprouts. Our Market Sprouts program encourages healthy eating habits by rewarding children for participating in the shopping experience. Your Sprout will receive a reusable, fabric shopping bag and a card for vendors to initial for every dollar spent. Fill the card and receive a gift certificate to spend at any booth at the market.

The Albert Lea Farmer’s Market is a valuable resource, providing not only fresh produce, but nutritional education and community connection. It really is the place to be twice a week. Hope to see you next Wednesday or Saturday!