Otago Farmers Market

Supermarket vs Farmers Market - 7th Oct 2011

Supermarket vs Farmers Market In recent weeks a local supermarket chain was advertising that it was just like a Farmers Market only indoors, so what are some of the key differences between shopping at a Farmers Market and a supermarket.
The majority of Farmers Markets make use of existing infrastructure. Markets are designed to work in with the car park or field that they operate out of, so when the market is finished the space returns to what it was. Supermarket design seems to reflect a corporate ideal rather than the community they operate in the. The majority of supermarkets change the local environment to suit their needs rather than adapting to it.

Shopping at a super market is a quite passive act. One buys their nutrition and no one at the supermarket is really responsible for the food they sell, with the exception of expiration date and condition.

In the case of most supermarkets, one does not get informed well enough about where the products actually come from, how they are produced, and what is in there. As a consumer, one is left out when it comes to these questions, but it is important to know what we eat.

Unfortunately, if most people knew what their food contains, they may not choose to eat it.
We are what we eat. Our choice of food affects our health and our amount of energy. It therewith co-determines a huge part of our life quality. Thus, it should not be bought carelessly.

However, when buying at a farmer’s market, one often gets in direct contact with the people who are responsible for the food. One can make a connection with them face to face. This is very different from buying “anonymous” food in a large store - try asking a staff member at check out how and where the cabbage you are purchasing was grown.

Oftentimes, food offered at the market is homemade. If you are unsure about where a product is grown and how it is produced, one can directly ask the sellers, and if dissatisfied, give them direct feedback.

Many people find food from Farmers Markets to fresher and tastier. For instance, many comment on how compared to seasonal locally grown tomatoes, tomatoes from the supermarket mostly just “taste” watery, and the real tomato taste is missing.

It is not only about healthier food and the feeling of more transparency and purity, this experience even makes one enjoy food even more. It is the next best thing to picking the vegetables and fruits, or baking the bread yourself.

There is also more “heart” in the food in regard to the way of purchasing it, because it is so much more “back to the roots”. Thereby, social interaction plays a major role, not only with regard to the producers, but also with other market visitors, due to the special “natural” atmosphere of a farmer’s market.

Certainly, not everything is offered at a farmers market. Yet, when grocery shopping, it is worth paying attention to where to buy. Sometimes it might even be the better solution to resign on an item that is of nontransparent origin, or has too many unnecessary ingredients, such as flavor enhancers, colourants etc. Here too, that old truism applies: less is more.

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