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    • I used to be a "regular" at the Farmers' Market every single weekend buying fruits and veggies. Some of the artisan breads there are so delicious and I can't find them anywhere else, including in the Whole Foods Market. I even have my favorite go-to stands and know some of the vendors.

      As much as I love the idea of supporting local farmers, I found that I would leave a ton of cash behind and wonder where it all went... Yes, the premium organic produce from a local Farmers' Market seems like the freshest and healthiest option, but I've recently found that the local Costco also started to carry organic produce at almost half the price. The selection isn't as wide, but there are other produce bulk items that I need and I'm already shopping there anyway.

      So this makes me feel guilty for not supporting the local farmers, but I also wonder if I'm buying the same produce from Costco, which they get from those same farmers but at bulk prices? ๐Ÿค”

    • I've often felt the same way. I had found a different way to eat healthy, support local farmers, and help reduce food waste through Imperfect Produce. Unfortunately, I just moved and they don't deliver to my new address but maybe it's something you might want to consider?

      A lot of produce is thrown away or turned into feed because they don't match the markets' requirements for size, appearance, or a number of other factors. Imperfect Produce sources their products from these otherwise discarded goods and provides it to consumers at a discount.

      They have a rotating list of fruits, veggies, and other foods, both organic and normal varieties. Attached with each product is a note indicating why they were deemed unacceptable by grocery stores. I've had some pretty amazing produce come in my boxes (keep an eye out for their Maroo raisins), best of all I get to feel like I'm helping out the environment while eating healthy and avoiding the farmers' market crowds =P

    • Wow, I didn't know such a service even existed. Thank you @pinguin! I've checked out the site and what you wrote about it and it seems like a great solution and a good cause. I don't really care about how the produce looks as long as it tastes good.

      I've signed up via your link and will have my first delivery of Medium Organic box next Thursday. It is really nice of them to allow some customization of before delivery so I can make not to get something I don't like and more of what I do like.

      Once I get the first box, I'll report back. Thank you again!

    • When I lived in the CA Bay Area, they end up delivering my boxes pretty late on Thursday evenings, and once or twice might've even delivered them early Friday mornings. Be sure to keep an eye out for them lest they become feasts for the local wildlife!

    • Oh ya, and definitely customize your boxes early in the week, as soon as you can. They WILL run out of some things as the week progresses.

    • The two arguments I make for buying from local farmers markets sometimes it's that the fruit is often harvested closer to ripe, so it tastes better. And supporting local farming capacity is important from the perspective of fostering a resilient food supply. But the premium definitely outweighs the value if you ask me. I consider it charity when I do buy from there.

      Many people don't realize the bounty they see at the market isn't always what they assume. Much of what a local farmers brings to the market is farmed from their own operation. And they'll make the most margin on those items. But they will routinely bolster their output with complementary items bought wholesale. So... It's a bit deceiving.

    • In my opinion, buying from farmers markets is 200% worth it. Food is no longer a huge percent of most people's expenses, unlike healthcare. And healthcare is reduced by shopping farmers markets if you're not buying the pastries that seem to be creeping into our farmer's markets.

      The big growers in the midwest have to select for shelf life, so the Marathon breed of broccoli lasts a long time but is less nutritious than the breeds local farmers can sell. And as you mentioned, they can be picked riper, and the farmers can bypass the middleman and keep more margin.

      I'm friends with a couple of local bakers who sell their breads through farmer's markets (I met one through Adventure Rider). They told me something astounding: the germ in the wheat adds density and moisture to the bread, but commercial sellers who deliver breads to grocery stores strip it out but can still label their bread as whole grain. The reason is the germ cuts the shelf life so the government, which owns the definition of the phrase whole grain, carved out an exception for commercial bakers.

      But the germ is considered the most nutritious part and a way to get pleasingly moist bread.

    • Food is no longer a huge percent of most people's expenses, unlike healthcare.

      ๐Ÿค” This sentence surprised me. Did you read this somewhere?

      Food is my second biggest monthly expense after my mortgage. Granted we eat takeout pretty often because we're lazy, but even if I exclude restaurants and just count grocery costs, that's still a significant expense in my budget.

    • I've been following it casually over the years. My understanding is it's down to something like 6.5% among Americans. I know that varies widely by income level, spending habits, etc. For us, we eat pretty simple foods like produce, dishes made from beans & rice, sweet potatoes, etc., so it seems immaterial compared to property taxes, vehicles & all their associated costs, travel, cameras, motorcyles, etc.

    • Ah, okay. Think about the numbers though: 6.4% doesn't sound like a lot compared to the remaining 93.6%, but what this chart shows is that Americans spend about 6.4% of all the money they spend on food consumed at home (so this doesn't even include restaurants).

      I went looking, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends $57,311 a year. 6.4% of $57,311 is $3,668, or about $306 a month, which is still a decent chunk of change.

      The BLS stats also say that the average household spends $7,203 a year ($600 a month) on food in total, of which $4,049 is spent on food consumed at home, which is comparable to the numbers in your chart. BLS puts healthcare spending at $4,612 per year, so still cheaper than food overall.

      Anyway, food may account for a small percentage of total expenditures, but it's still a lot of money! ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ’ธ

    • I can see that. My perspective is the ultimate expense is poor health and the leading cause of poor health is poor diet. The thing people seem to buy most at farmers markets is produce, which is the most likely way to stay off heart and diabetes meds. If going to the farmers market gets us to consume fewer Cheetos, my bet is that math works out well over the long haul.

    • Definitely worth it. Good, nutritious food can have a massive impact on health and wellbeing so while it may sting a little to spend so much on food, it can save a crazy amount of money on medical bills, not to mention improve your life quality and longevity. I have dramatically improved my own health just by switching to a raw, natural, Paleo-style diet.

    You've been invited!