Last month, more than 200 of you filled out our customer survey. One thing we heard from 25% of respondents is that the cost of food prevents you from shopping more frequently at the market. We get it; we’re all trying to stretch our dollars these days. And we know you get it too; 95% of you said you believe a farmers market improves your community by keeping money local and supporting small food producers.
We were curious to see how prices at the market compare to those at grocery stores, so we did a price comparison study. We’ve done price comparisons before, but it had been a few years and It’s not always apples to apples, but overall we found that many of the vegetables were, as we expected, more expensive at the market. However, there were some surprising findings. We hope providing this kind of information is helpful.
Why buy local: In attempting to make the image above, we struggled to find a stock photo that does our local fennel justice! Fennel from our local farmers is much bigger, fresher, and as it turns out, CHEAPER! It hasn’t made an appearance yet but, as a winter crop, it will be available soon.
Why buy local: Organic butternut squash from the store is about the same price as butternut squash from the market. This price point makes purchasing winter squash at the market an affordable way to support local! Plus, you can stock up – one PFM staff member purchased a butternut squash from Whipstone Farm in December last year and it was still delicious in May!
Why buy local: Though kale is more expensive at the market, the bunches are bigger, it tastes better and it will last twice as long in the fridge. Local produce has generally been picked within a day or two of the market, keeping its bold flavor and crisp texture.
Why buy local: Did you know that winter carrots are twice as sweet? Carrots respond to cold weather by increasing their sugar content, which helps stop ice crystal formations and prevents damage to the carrot’s cells. Luckily Yavapai County has those freezing temps to make delicious carrots, store-bought carrots taste the same (bland) all year!