Musings of a Beaverton Teen: So Many Reasons to Shop at a Farmers Market

By Emery Hanel (11th Grade)

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Hey, Beaverton teens!

It’s that time of the year again. The Beaverton Saturday Farmer’s Market is up and running for 2016 from May to November. Open from 8:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., the outdoor market located across from the Beaverton Library on SW Hall Boulevard (between 3rd Street and 5th Street) is an excellent place to purchase a countless variety of fresh, in-season organic crops that are grown locally.

The Beaverton Farmer’s Market is the single largest, all-agricultural market in the state of Oregon and around 20,000 people opt to visit and buy each Saturday.  However, some of you may be hesitant to purchase from a one-day-a-week marketplace when you can easily purchase what seems to be the same products at your nearby grocery store. However, the reality is that farmer’s market produce is nearly always going to be a cheaper and safer alternative to the produce available at your nearby grocery store. The Center for Urban Education About Sustainable Agriculture (CUESA) highlights the following as reasons why you should consider visiting the farmer’s market in the place of a supermarket:

It’s better for you.

The food you buy at your nearby grocery store is typically grown with the use of pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetic modification–all of which are detrimental to your health if ingested. What’s even more alarming is that these products are gassed to quicken the rate at which they ripen. However, the food you buy at the farmer’s market is not processed so heavily or affected by the exposure to radiation and waxing that occurs in the transit of supermarket produce. Farmers aim to grow as naturally as possible and offer as much variety as possible.

It’s a place where you can educate yourself.

Vendors who farm their own product are happy and able to tell you exactly where and how the food you want to buy is being produced. Moreover, these vendors will likely be able to offer you pointers on how to properly prepare the product for a meal and can even share a few recipes.

It promotes green practices and the humane treatment of animals.

Supermarket produce is often transported hundreds of miles before it hits the shelves, meaning that it is carted around in massive trucks that pollute the environment with burned fossil fuels.

Supermarket produce is also farmed conventionally more often than it is farmed organically, and the pesticides they use also pollute the environment. Because farmer’s market produce is local, transport time is much shorter and done with more care.

Additionally, farmer’s market meats, cheeses, and eggs are all raised very differently than the meats, cheeses, and eggs up for sale at a supermarket. They have not been affected by hormones or antibiotics, and have enjoyed a natural diet for their lifetime. Living conditions for these farmer’s market animals are better than that of the supermarket counterparts, aiding in the movement for more humane animal agriculture.

It serves as a place to connect.

Packed with vendors, shoppers, tourists, kids and live entertainment, the farmer’s market is an ideal place to socialize with new and old friends. The market is also a chance to thank farmers. They have to compete with large agricultural corporations that do not even sell as high quality of a product that they do, and by buying from them, they receive a greater return on their produce. This keeps them selling their wonderful products!

Emery Hanel is a junior at Jesuit High School who enjoys reading, writing, and playing lacrosse.