There was a time when the purpose of a farmers' market might have been to sell produce directly to people in an economically challenged area in an effort to be socially responsible and stem hunger. Today farmers' markets are thriving in all areas and are a great way for smaller farmers to be able to get their produce and products to consumers.
Typically one can find vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers, breads, jams, cheeses, juices, local specialty foods and crafts. Hey, you can get those things at the grocery store! So why do people go to a farmers market? Here are just some of the reasons:
- to obtain fresh produce, directly from the farm
- to obtain organic and pesticide-free produce
- to support local farmers
- to support the local economy
Sometimes the prices at a farmers' market are cheaper than at typical stores, but not always. Although the participants are exempt from Arizona sales tax and eliminate some middlemen by selling direct to consumers at the market, their expenses in producing high quality produce in a small farm environment are high. In any case, the farmers' market experience, for many consumers, isn't just about buying fruits and vegetables. It is also about being able to chat with the growers in a friendly and pleasant environment.
In the Phoenix area it seems that one or two more farmers' markets open every year, making them more accessible to more people. Some are open year-round, and some are seasonal.
Farmers used to think of the markets as an adjunct to their business -- a weekend activity to supplement the farm income. Not any more. Farmers' markets are no longer a place for large corporate growers to dump excess produce. It is much more about smaller farmers having found a way to compete in an increasingly difficult and very competitive business. Small-scale producers are using these markets as a way to develop their products and marketing skills in order to eliminate the costs of being a wholesale producer. Retailing directly to consumers has given some small farmers a new outlook while bringing communities closer. In this way small farmers can also play a significant role in the economic revitalization of the areas that they serve.
On the following pages you'll find, organized by day of the week, the farmers' markets of the Greater Phoenix area.
Page 1: Intro to Farmers' Markets
Page 2: Sunday Farmers' Markets
Page 3: Monday Farmers' Markets
Page 4: Tuesday Farmers' Markets
Page 5: Wednesday Farmers' Markets
Page 6: Thursday Farmers' Markets
Page 7: Friday Farmers' Markets
Page 8: Saturday Farmers' Markets
Page 9: Farmers' Market Nutrition Program