Many farmers’ markets are open throughou the fall and even year round. If you’re still looking for a market in your area, a little-known USDA tool can help. The USDA Farmers’ Market Directory lets you search by zip code and distance, and lets you filter your search based on products available, payment accepted, market location, winter markets, and state contacts. To be eligible for a listing, a market must “feature two or more farm vendors selling agricultural products directly to customers at a common, recurrent physical location.”
The directory makes it possible to find a farmers’ market that best suits your preferences or budget. For example, the “Products Available” list includes baked goods, honey, crafts, herbs, meats, dry beans, soaps and many other product categories. The “Payment Accepted” filter lets you look for markets that accept credit cards, WIC vouchers, SNAP and other Federal nutrition programs.
If farmers’ markets aren’t your thing, you can find other locally-grown options in the USDA Local Food Directories. You can look for Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), for example, which provide members or subscribers with regular deliveries of fresh produce during harvest seasons. Other directories include on-farm markets and food hubs, which manage distribution and marketing of locally-grown food to wholesale, retail and institutional buyers.
Buying from CSAs, farmers’ markets or other local options lets you know where your food comes from, and keeps dollars in the local — especially rural — economy. Besides, fresh food tastes so much better!