You can find a Farmers Market in Wichita, KS almost any day of the week. Of course, we at GreenAcres are partial to our own market every Tuesday from 3 – 6 p.m. May 1 – Sept. 25, in the parking lot in front of our store.
GreenAcres Kansas City in the Village at Briarcliff and GreenAcres Oklahoma City at Walnut Square host what they call “Local Nights” from May through September where they feature their local vendors and have tastings, music and more.
We love to promote our vendors and our community farmers who work so hard to feed us from their ranches, farms and orchards.
No one knows when and where the first Farmers Market originated, but there is evidence they date back to the 1700s and have proliferated ever since.
When our family first moved to Los Angeles is the early ‘70s, visiting the local Farmers Market was eye-opening to say the least. I had never seen strawberries that big in my life. They were a full six inches and luscious sweet. And the artichokes—huge!
The strawberries at the GreenAcres-Wichita Farmers Market are tiny by comparison, but no less delicious. There’s just something about produce coming off the vine or right out of the ground that’s so compelling, and well, special. There’s more nutrition in that which is just harvested or picked, and it just seems to taste better.
Greg Cole, a man we’ve written about before—an entrepreneur, teacher, baker, military vet and regular all-around great guy—is in charge of the GreenAcres Farmer’s Market, and the man who rallies the troops each winter to sign up 20-26 vendors for our Bradley Fair store parking lot every spring.
People can see the tents go up from 21st and Rock Roads around 2:30 p.m. every Tuesday and they whip their own cars around to squeeze into the parking lot, first for homemade jams and jellies, nut breads and spring produce. Later, they line up for home-grown kale, leeks, potatoes, tomatoes and Kansas corn.
Matt, a GreenAcres owner and Bradley Fair store manager, has found many of our local vendors who now sell inside our stores from their stints during a summer in our Farmer’s Markets. Matt’s discovered cheese makers, salsa producers, hydroponic lettuce and sprouts growers, honey bee farmers—you name it, Kansas has it, and we choose from the best to enhance the GreenAcres brand.
From the Cuesa organization of California, which stands for “Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture,” and is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of farmers markets and educational programs, we learn:
10 Reasons to Support Farmers Markets
1. Taste Real Flavors
The fruits and vegetables you buy at the farmers market are the freshest and tastiest available. Fruits are allowed to ripen fully in the field and are brought directly to you—no long-distance shipping, no gassing to simulate the ripening process, no sitting for weeks in storage. This food is as real as it gets—fresh from the farm.
2. Enjoy the Season
The food you buy at the farmers market is seasonal. It is fresh and delicious and reflects the truest flavors. Shopping and cooking from the farmers market helps you to reconnect with the cycles of nature in our region. As you look forward to asparagus in spring, savor sweet corn in summer, or pumpkins in autumn, you reconnect with the earth, the weather, and the turning of the year.
3. Support Family Farmers
Family farmers need your support, now that large agribusiness dominates food production in the U.S. Small family farms have a hard time competing in the food marketplace. Buying directly from farmers gives them a better return for their produce and gives them a fighting chance in today’s globalized economy.
4. Protect the Environment
Food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate. All this shipping uses large amounts of natural resources (especially fossil fuels), contributes to pollution, and creates trash with extra packaging. Conventional agriculture also uses many more resources than sustainable agriculture and pollutes water, land, and air with toxic agricultural by-products. Food at the farmers market is transported shorter distances and is generally grown using methods that minimize the impact on the earth.
5. Nourish Yourself
Much food found in grocery stores is highly processed and grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification. Some of it has been irradiated, waxed, or gassed in transit. These practices may have negative effects on human health. In contrast, most food found at the farmers market is minimally processed, and many of our farmers go to great lengths to grow the most nutritious produce possible by using sustainable techniques, picking produce right before the market, and growing heirloom varieties.
6. Discover the Spice of Life: Variety
At the farmers market you find an amazing array of produce that you don’t see in your average supermarket: red carrots, a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, purple cauliflower, stinging nettles, green garlic, watermelon radishes, quail eggs, maitake mushrooms, and much, much more. It is a wonderful opportunity to savor the biodiversity of our planet.
7. Promote Humane Treatment of Animals
At the farmers market, you can find meats, cheeses, and eggs from animals that have been raised without hormones or antibiotics, who have grazed on green grass and eaten natural diets, and who have been spared the cramped and unnatural living conditions of feedlots and cages that are typical of animal agriculture.
8. Know Where Your Food Comes From
A regular trip to a farmers market is one of the best ways to connect with where your food comes from. Meeting and talking to farmers and food artisans is a great opportunity to learn more about how and where food is produced.
9. Learn Cooking Tips, Recipes, and Meal Ideas
Few grocery store cashiers or produce stockers will give you tips on how to cook the ingredients you buy, but farmers, ranchers, and artisans at the farmers market are often passionate cooks with plenty of free advice about how to cook the foods they are selling
10. Connect with Your Community
Coming to the farmers market makes shopping a pleasure rather than a chore. The farmers market is a community hub—a place to meet up with your friends, bring your children, or just get a taste of small-town life in the midst of our wonderful big city.
We invite you to shop our Farmer’s Market and our Locals Nights if you’re in the vicinity of our GreenAcres Markets that host them. Then, come on into our stores, peruse our aisles, take home house-made confections from our delis. We think you’re going to fall in love with GreenAcres Market and our mission to bring great nutrition and educational health opportunities to each customer, one Midwest community at a time!