Waste Free Farmer’s Market

There are few “adulting” chores that I actually enjoy. Laundry, cleaning the house, and even grocery shopping are “have to’s” that I know I must do in order to keep an orderly household, they are far from “want to’s”. However, there is one adulating chore that I do enjoy – I might even say that I look forward to. That is my weekly trip to the Farmer’s Market.

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If you haven’t started shopping at farmer’s markets yet, let me list a few reasons why I love them

  • The availability of local, seasonal produce. While your typical grocery stores do offer a great selection of produce, many of what you see in the produce aisle is often shipped in from other countries as far away as Chile. This takes a big environmental tole on our planet, given the great distance it takes to ship.
  • Supporting local farmers, and getting a great price. When you buy at a farmer’s market, you are buying directly from the people who grow the food. This not only helps each individual farmer that you are buying from, it also helps to stimulate the local economy as a whole. Additionally, since you’re buying direct, you get a better price, since you’re not paying for grocery store mark ups. I usually spend no more than $40 for a week’s worth of fresh produce, bread, eggs and other goodies.
  • The chance to discover something new. Whether it’s new, seasonal produce or new vendors, there’s plenty to discover. Many small businesses will also set up shop  at local farmer’s markets, giving you a great opportunity to buy and support people in your community.
  • The opportunity to shop waist free. This is by far the biggest reason why I shop at farmers market. Most produce at any farmers market will come without any packaging. However, I say that it is an opportunity (and not a given) because buying waist free takes planning and intention.

In this blog, I’m going to highlight some of my must haves that I always carry with me to the farmer’s market, in order to ensure that I am making my trip as waste-free and environmentally friendly as possible.

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Market Tote Bag

The first item I always carry with me is a tote bag. I’m sure you’ve seen many bloggers and brands promoting super chic, expensive farmer’s market tote bags. While these are gorgeous, and add to a great IG photo, they are totally not necessary. This “Viva La Vida” Frida bag I purchased through a fundraiser for my sorority, and it has become my favorite bag to take to the Farmer’s Market. It’s big enough to fit all of my essentials, but not so bulky that it gets in the way of my shopping.

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Reusable Produce Bags

The next item I always have with me are reusable produce bags. While most produce at farmer’s market come without packaging, most attendants are there with plastic bag in hand, ready to bag your items together in order to carry them to weigh. Plastic produce bags honestly drive me crazy. Here in California, there is a $0.10 fee for plastic grocery bags, and most people have become accustomed to taking their reusable grocery bags with them, but for some reason, the plastic produce bags are still ever present.

In addition to being an environmental burden, these plastic bags are also not good for your produce! Produce will suffocate and sweat in plastic bags, causing them to rot and mold fairly fast. Instead, I use reusable produce bags. These are great because they allow your produce to breath while stored in the fridge and last a lot longer. Some great resources to buy reusable produce bags include Package Free Shop or this set from Amazon.

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Reusable Cups

The final items I always carry in my burlap farmer’s market tote is a set of reusable cups. Spending a morning shopping in the hot LA summer sun calls for a nice, refreshing drink. At many farmer’s market you can find the perfect vendor to quench your thirst, be it fresh squeezed lemonade or a variety of aguas frescas. I have found that most vendors are more than happy to serve me in my reusable cups and it feels good to support a local business without creating any waste.

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There are many things to love about farmer’s markets, and always something new to discover. Every farmer’s market has it’s own unique feel, with vendors who have fresh, local produce to nourish you throughout the week. I even enjoy breaking the routine and going to new markets outside of my usual neighborhood one. It allows me to discover new areas of my city and spend a day supporting my local economy.

I hope this blog inspired you to check out the local farmer’s markets in your area, and gave you some insight on how to ensure that your trip is waste free. What are some items you carry with you to ensure your trips to the market are waste free? What are some of your favorite markets in your area? I would love to hear more about your experiences!

Con Mucho Amor,

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Location: Larchmont Village Farmer’s Market, Los Angeles

Photography: Salpy Talian

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