Buy fresh and buy local

Published 8:00 am Friday, May 22, 2015

Wait, before you buy that bag of mixed lettuce greens or that package of baby carrots, answer this question: do you know where those vegetables came from?

OK, you can give the smart aleck response and say “the ground,” but the honest answer is that very few of us know just where the pre-packaged produce items that line the shelves of grocery stores came from. More importantly, we often don’t know what kinds of elements these products have been exposed to from the time they were harvested to when shoppers place them in their shopping carts.

With more and more Americans taking an interest on just where their produce is coming from, farmers markets are becoming a great destination for families looking to spruce up their usual grocery shopping routine. These markets provide a convenient outlet for local farmers to sell their selection of fresh crops directly to customers, so that buyers can know exactly where that basket of strawberries or jar of blueberry jelly was produced, and more importantly, by whom.

Many of these delicious crops are produced right here in southwest Michigan. All one has to do is take a short trip outside the city to see the acres upon acres of farmland that make up much of Berrien and Cass counties. Why buy produce from somewhere potentially hundreds of miles away when you can get it right here?

Fortunately, there are several farmers markets that you can visit that sell these locally grown treasures, right in your  backyard.

Last week, Niles’ French Market opened for the season, relocating to the parking lot of Lakeland Hospital,. The market is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Friday, and will be open until Oct. 30.

In Dowagiac, the city’s Farm & Artisan Market will open its second season on May 30, returning to the lawn outside the Dowagiac Area History Museum, located at the intersection of Division and Railroad streets downtown. The market will be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday and Saturday.

Buchanan’s farmers market is every Saturday from 8 a.m. to  1 p.m. downtown.

We encourage locals to visit these markets as often as possible. While their hours aren’t as convenient as regular supermarket, they provide some of the best quality food you and your family can enjoy — and you can rest easy knowing that your money is staying in your community.


Opinions expressed are those of the editorial board consisting of Publisher Michael Caldwell and editors Ambrosia Neldon, Craig Haupert, Ted Yoakum and Scott Novak.