Support your farmers FAQs
1 I’m not sure which farmers markets are open. Where can I find out?
Tilth Alliance published a directory which lists farmers markets and farms. You can search by location and product. Click on More to see the details.
2 Given COVID-19, what are the guidelines for shopping at farmers markets?
See the guidelines from the Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets. You can also check for information in the Tilth Alliance Directory. Be prepared to follow the rules posted at the market. In general, order ahead when possible, know what you want and shop as quickly as possible, don’t touch the produce, go cashless, wear a mask, wash your hands and keep your distance.
3 I’d like to buy directly from a farm. Is it okay to do that?
Be sure to check the website to see if the farm has a stand and what the hours are. Farmers work long hours and are often in the field. Spring is an especially busy time. Also, farms sell different items so make sure the farm has what you’re looking for. They’ll welcome your business during open hours.
4 What is a CSA (community supported agriculture) and should I sign up?
CSA’s are an upfront investment (share) in a farm where you pay the farmer in advance of the season. Doing so enables farmers to plan ahead and purchase seeds for the upcoming harvest. Similar box- delivery services are less beneficial for the farmer because they don’t receive payment in advance and or any guarantee for amounts purchased. In addition to delicious produce, partnering with a farmer will give you the opportunity to try new things, know how your food was grown and broaden your palate. If you don’t need a full subscription, consider sharing one with a neighbor.
5 How do I know the food I buy is safe?
Rest assured that farmers and markets are following The Washington State Department of Health (WaDOH) “COVID-19 Guidelines for Farmers Markets Providing Essential Services”. Keep in mind that what you buy in a grocery store may be touched by dozens of people before you bring it home. This is much less likely of produce you buy from a small farm.
6 My grocery store has a lot more fruits and vegetables to choose from than the farmers market. Why is that?
Much of what you buy in a supermarket travels many miles before it lands there. When you buy locally, choices are fewer but the benefits are many including fresher food with more nutrients because it hasn’t traveled as far. In addition, it will taste better and keep longer. Remember, asparagus is a spring vegetable with short season so if you see it for sale in December, check to see where it came from.
7 Are there other benefits to eating what is in season?
There are many in addition to better taste and more nutrients.
You’ll be supporting your local farmers and economy.
Food won’t travel as far which is better for the planet.
If you eat something in season such as a tomato, you’ll enjoy it more!
It helps the body adjust to the changes. For example, fruits and vegetables that ripen in summer such as cucumbers, have more fluids which the body needs during hotter weather.
8 I’ve heard of ugly and imperfect produce. What is it?
Most Grocery stores don’t sell produce that has cosmetic imperfections because customers won’t buy it. This is wasteful especially given imperfect produce is just as delicious and nutritious! Remember, if you look closely, nature has many imperfections. So don’t ignore that slightly blemished apple!
9 What else can I do to support farmers?
Lot’s of things!
Order online if it’s an option.
Organize a neighborhood buying group; designate one person to pick up at the farm.
Be flexible and patient! Farmers have had to change the way they do business in a short period of time.
Be slow to complain if something isn’t exactly what you wanted or imperfect. Farmers work hard and are underappreciated. Even in a normal season, they plant surplus produce to account for the variables which often results in losses.
Sign up for a newsletter.
Thank your farmer for growing food. They strive to put it into the hands of people who appreciate it.
Tilth Alliance Directory – lists farmers markets and farms
The Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Markets – guidelines for shopping at farmers markets
Washington State Department of Health – COVID19 guidelines for farmers markets
Farms for Life – learn more about how FFL is connecting farmers having surplus with community agencies serving people in need.
World’s Healthiest Foods – benefits of eating in season.
Good and Cheap: Eat well on $4 a day – a free cookbook by Leanne Brown (It won a prestigious James Beard award) written with SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) recipients in mind. Brown’s “best health advice is simple: eat fruits and vegetables.”