We love farmers markets! Tis the season, and we’re now able to walk into any town USA and enjoy our local farmers markets, which have become major community-wide events and a weekly ritual for many of us. What better place to celebrate Mom this Mother’s Day weekend than at your farmers market!

Baby boomers and their families appreciate that farmers markets serve as gathering places to grow, nourish and inspire community. Each market has a signature personality, and is just plain fun – one of our favorites is the Portland Farmers Market. If you buy at farmer’s markets, a lot more of your money goes toward supporting individuals in your community. It’s the difference between shopping at the big-box stores and shopping at the store owned by your neighbor. And, you are reducing your carbon footprint by eating foods produced closer to home.

Industrial food may still dominate the culinary landscape but the farmers-market model works well for farms small enough to sell all or most of their produce direct to consumers and to visionary restaurants.  Since 1994, USDA has counted the number of operational U.S. farmers markets. During that time the number of farmers markets listed in the USDA National Farmers Market Directory has skyrocketed from 1,755 to 6,132. The directory captures information about where and when farmers markets operate, if they participate in federal nutrition benefit programs, and detailed information about their seasonality and location.

Remembering that old adage – you are what you eat – is enough to turn you off processed foods forever. Read a label with all those unpronounceable mystery additives and preservatives and you’ll turn into a locavore overnight. We’re heading out to our local farmers market for some first-of-the-season fresh veggies with Mom. Tell us about your market. And don’t forget the pictures!