What’s a market?
The farmer’s market is the most original form of shopping. And it’s the most beautiful one!
In the supermarket you don’t smell a lot. It’s cold and standard there. On the farmer’s market you feel the taste of lemons, ripe tomatoes and summer savory in the air.
However matter-of-factly the market (also the farmers market) is a place where supply and demand comes together. Thus the words coffee market, stock market, world market etc. have been created. By swap of goods, prices are made . Today on most farmers markets the prices are fixed by the suppliers. However when you buy at the farmers market you don’t pay the distributor because most of the producers sell their products directly. So the money they get on the farmer’s market benefits the producers more directly.
+ You stroll through the farmer’s market while you talk with the vendors. Here you can inform yourself directly about the goods which you want to buy. Therefore a farmer’s market can create more transparency.
+ For me it’s also an advantage that most of the producers come from the nearer region, because the farmer’s market only lasts one forenoon. The offered goods are partly from organic agriculture (watch out for the organic label on the market stall or ask). But the best: Normally, the goods are offered without any packaging! You decide how you want to take the goods with you!
+ The regional differences between a farmer’s market in southern France and northern Austria are much bigger than the difference of supermarkets in the two regions. Take a look at the seasons too: The assortment on a market in June is completely different to the assortment in January! You discover new fruits and vegetables and you recognise the beauty of the different seasons in a better way.
+ I also like the opening times of the farmer’s market. The market stalls are ready to sell you something even when it’s half past seven in the morning. So you can do your shopping before going to work. When I need more time, I go to a farmer’s market on Saturday. On the webpage of your town/village, you can find the market schedules for your region.
But how can you buy goods on the farmer’s market “Zero Waste”?
1. What do you want to buy?
Think about this question before you go on the market! Writing a shopping list helps you to provide enough jam jars, cloth bags and containers (made from stainless steel). In addition you avoid to buy things which you don’t need at all. I always take one cloth bag/jam jar more with me to have the possibility to buy something spontaneously.
2. Talk about your new shopping habits!
When you don’t tell the sales person how you want to buy your goods he might give you some wasteful packaging. However, one sentence is enough:”Please put the olives into this preserving jar!” Say this sentence with implicitness, as if there was only this possibility to buy goods. Explain why you buy your goods this way and why Zero Waste benefits everybody, whenever you have the opportunity (WIN-WIN-WIN).
AT the beginning it cost you quite an effort, but in my experience it’s never a problem to buy Zero Waste on the farmer’s market. Most of the people on a farmer’s market are ecology-minded people. Even other buyers lob me when I buy Zero Waste on the market. They often say:”Nice idea! Next time I also want to do this.” Go for it!
What do I buy on the market?
Everything I get…usually it’s organic fruit and vegetables, dairy products and olives.
Below you see as an example what I bought in my holidays on a farmer’s market in Provence-Alpes Cote d’Azur. Markets in Southern France are amazing! You can buy everything there, from A to Z, from artichokes to zucchinis.
Therefore this isn’t my typical shopping basket because I bought a lot of things which aren’t available at the farmer’s market in my home country.
The msot difficult exercise was the decision for three spices: Pepper, mustard seeds and Ras-el-Hanout, an oriental spice blend. I filled the latter two spices in jam jars and the pepper in an empty tomato mash jar.
In the cloth bag there are various tomatoes. On the picture you only see a big, wrinkly tomato, one of the most typical tomato species in the Provence. But I also bought cherry tomatoes, plum-shaped yellow tomatoes , little black tomatoes and many more.
Green salad, peaches, potatoes in different colours and the cantaloupes were all bought in a cloth bag.
As you see in the picture, I put the goat cheese and the sheep brie into a cookie bix. And for lunch I bought three kinds of tasty noodle-salad with tomatoes and avocado!
At home you can also buy Zero Waste: Find your farmer’s market and try! Coming soon: Another post – what do I buy on the farmer’s market at home in Austria
What do you buy on the farmer’s market? Which special goods are available on your market? I am looking forward to your comment!