Roadside Stands vs. Farmers Markets

Farmers markets and roadside stands are both great outlets to buy home grown goods. My wife and I have shopped at both for years, and each has their own advantages.

From spring into late fall farmers markets are usually held in town; either at a park, town square or along a street temporarily closed to traffic. Roadside stands can be found in town as well but are also found along rural roads and highways.

Markets give growers an outlet to sell their produce to a large group of shoppers, usually once a week, in an organized setting offering a wide variety of products. Stands can operate seven days a week, if they want to, and offer much fewer items than markets because there is just one vendor operating it.

We have found that if you are looking for something a little different, or want to browse a wide variety of food, farmers markets rule hands down. For example, my wife picked up a package of elk patties last time there (very lean and tasty). We have purchased everything from locally harvested honey to homemade peanut butter.

On the other hand if you are looking for quantity as well as quality we have found roadside stands to usually offer the better deals. When we want to cook up and freeze sweet corn, for example, the stand vendor will almost always give a better deal. He has several bushels picked to sell on that day and he will probably be picking more to sell the next day. Since sweet corn is best the day it is picked he would rather sell his produce at a discount than sit on it for another day.

So if you are looking for variety, shop the farmers markets. If looking to buy in bulk, visit a roadside stand.

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