There are lots of benefits of shopping at farmers’ markets, and Lincolnshire has so many regular market dates across the county for you to enjoy.
Lincolnshire’s farmers’ markets offer the chance to pick up fresh produce found at over thirty stalls from local food and drink producers. In Lincoln, on the historic cobbled streets of Castle Hill, you’ll find the monthly Lincoln Farmers’ Market. There are regular dates across the Lincolnshire Wolds too, found in the county’s quaint market towns such as Market Rasen, Caistor, Louth, and Horncastle.
If you’re exploring the south of the county, don’t forget to stop at the Farmers’ Markets in the Deepings and Stamford too, for a taste of Lincolnshire’s very best. But what are the real benefits of shopping locally and directly from Lincolnshire’s farmers’ markets?
Here are eleven great reasons to add a visit to a farmers’ market near you to your monthly calendar:
1. FRESHER FOOD
Go into any supermarket and you really have no idea how long those eggs or potatoes or sausages have been sitting on the shelf. However, what you find at a farmers market is about as fresh as it gets. From freshly caught fish to apples that dropped off the tree this morning, there really is no better source for fresh, organic produce.
2. FEWER ADDITIVES AND PRESERVATIVES
Because the timeline is much shorter with local produce than with imported produce, farmers don’t have the same need for chemical preservatives. Shopping at a farmers’ market means you can ask the farmers how their crops are raised, what chemicals are used (if any) and when the item was harvested.
3. VALUE FOR MONEY
When selling produce locally, farmers don’t have the same overheads of travel, business rates and export tax, meaning they don’t need to charge more for organic produce as many major retailers do. Fresher food, fewer additives, and easy on the pocket— what’s not to love?
Shopping local allows you to cut down on your food miles— almost all fruit and veg found at farmers markets are homegrown and seasonal, meaning less mileage involved in the farm-to-fork process and a smaller carbon footprint. Additionally, produce sold through markets is often unpackaged or sold in cardboard boxes or paper bags, cutting plastic waste even further. Saving the planet has never tasted so good!
5. ACCESS TO MORE ORGANIC PRODUCE
A large majority of farmers at the markets sell organic and free-range produce and will promote it as such, so you can be certain that you are purchasing chemical-free products. Organic farming is better for the soil, the environment, and your body. And, the advantage of a farmers market is that you can actually talk to the producers and learn about their methods of farming directly from the source.
6. SUPPORTING THE LOCAL ECONOMY
Most farmer’s market produce is grown within 50 miles of the market; this means that the farms are a source of local jobs and businesses and are likely to spend money they make on their produce in the local economy. A large number of local food producers are ‘micro’ businesses that initially struggle to distribute widely. So, buying food locally can help these small farming businesses grow and bring new products to the market.
7. PRODUCE WILL BE BETTER TASTING
Buy a tomato from the supermarket and another from the farmer’s market. Now taste them side-by-side and see what you think. Produce from a farmer’s market almost always tastes better. If you start adding farmer’s market produce to your cooking, you’ll be amazed at the difference in flavour and texture.
8. CONNECT WITH THE FARMING COMMUNITY
As well as helping grow the farming community’s economy, buying local means that you can ask for cooking advice and recipes straight from the horse’s mouth (or farmer’s!). Want to find out the best method to make homemade tomato soup? Or how to cook that perfect medium-rare steak? There will almost always be someone on hand at a Farmers Market to answer these questions.
9. YOU’LL FIND PRODUCE THAT ISN’T NECESSARILY READILY AVAILABLE AT A SUPERMARKET
Farmers can offer a dizzying array of fruits, vegetables, and meat. Industrial farms tend to stick to only a few varieties of popular items. Small local farms, on the other hand, favour variety, offering produce you just won’t be able to find in the supermarket.
10. YOUR PRODUCE WILL BE PERFECTLY RIPE
Farmers do not have to allow for extra travel time; meaning the fruit and veg on the stalls will be perfectly ripe, and when the plant’s natural sugars are at their peak. Eating produce when it is ripe not only tastes better but also provides the best nutrition possible.
11. GREAT EXCUSE TO EXPLORE MORE
The squares and market places across Lincolnshire’s market towns and villages make for a great day out, and a visit to the farmers’ markets adds to your Lincolnshire experience. There is often so much more to explore during your visit – from the boutique independents that line the streets nearby, to tours and trails to help you explore the town’s history and heritage. Lincoln Farmers’ Market, for example, makes for a picturesque day out that can be envied by even the largest markets across the country. The market is situated in Lincoln’s Cathedral Quarter, giving you the perfect chance to explore Lincoln’s best boutique independent shops and cafes, as well as Lincoln Castle and Cathedral.