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Now is the time to prepare for Spring Farmer's Markets

Farmer's Markets getting ready for Spring
Farmer's Markets getting ready for Spring
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Farmer's markets are nothing new to American Westerners as many are available all year long. But to Eastern and Midwest communities (colder climates), such as Ann Arbor, indoor Farmer's Markets are scarce and Spring is the time to start thinking about them.

Check out Ann Arbor's Year-Round Market:

As the warm weather begins, many outdoor Farmer's Markets will begin to open for business. If you wish to sell, now is the time to register as many markets have a deadline of March 1st.

Here's a list of markets throughout Michigan:

The popularity and benefits of Farmer's Markets:

The demand for quality, locally-grown produce has skyrocketed over the past 15 years, a 200% increase to be exact, according to a March 2010 article in The Journal of the American Dietetic Association. There's even a term now for those demanding locally-grown food: locavore. Get it? Herbivore-plant eater, Carnivore-meat eater, Locavore-local eater. Businesses such as hospitals and schools are also getting-in on the "locavore" action and purchasing from area farmers and vendors.

And it's not just the food that's attractive. Studies have shown that the personal interaction and the sense of contributing to their community are also bringing people to the farmer's markets. They've cited a desire to interact with vendors and form consumer loyalty. Something very common in years past. They also enjoy the activity of strolling through the vendor stations on a sunny day once a week. The town or city hosting the market also love it because it brings traffic into their area and thus, more traffic to local businesses. Many people have absorbed the concept of "Staycationing" and view the markets as a low cost, fun event where you can incorporate a healthy lifestyle with fresh fruits and vegetables and support your hometown as well.

Community gardens are also cropping-up all over as a way to provide food in a struggling economy and sometimes as a way to maximize unused space within the community. They generally work on a co-op-type basis where everyone involved has a responsibility to the garden. They may even have their own space where they can plan and maintain their own garden plot. Children are able to get involved and learn gardening at a very young age-something they can carry into adulthood and teach to their kids.

The trend with local markets is showing a desire for not only locally-grown foods but interaction within ones own community. In colder climates the thought of emerging from your home or office after a long, cold winter is very enticing. And many of these markets plan their market days with entertainment, fund raisers and special events.

Be Well!

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