Leicester_Market_2009Farmers… a class of humans thought of as extinct or native to only mystical farm lands unknown to urbanites.  Somewhere far far away, like North Dakota.  I’m from New York, so I guess that’s relative, however, growing up in the suburbs of Manhattan, I have not had a ton of opportunities to visit farms, experience their undeniably more delicious goods or pet any of Old McDonald’s adorable animals.  But alas, around 2010 (this is an estimate), the desire for more sustainable goods and to support the local farmers outweighed the need to save money by shopping at superstores like Walmart, Target or other grocery supermarket chains.

According to an article published in the New York Times, penned by Katie Zezima and titled As Farmers’ Markets Go Mainstream, Some Fear a Glut, it was sited that farmers markets nearly doubled from 2005 to 2011 when the article was published.  So, why is this a huge movement that doesn’t seem to be going away, but only getting stronger?  And, what does it mean in reference to the real estate world?  Glad you asked!  Here are some of the reasons people are moving towards the little guy and away from “Corporate America” when it comes to fruits, veggies and other farmed goods.

Let’s start with the idea that the quality of these goods is undeniably better.

Many farmers do not use the pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals that mass production farms use.  I can remember one of my earliest trips to a farmers market was in 2013 when I first moved to Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.  Our farmers markets, the Hastings Farmers Market, is seriously amazing, especially considering Hastings-on-Hudson is less than three square miles.  That aside, it was tomato season and as I perused the fresh vegetables, I thought that the tomatoes looked so ugly.  They were misshaped, weird shades of red and look overall dilapidated.  Against (what I thought was) my better judgement, I bought a couple.  Later on that day, my husband and I concocted the most delicious of tomato salad; you could taste that there was no tampering with chemicals and they were carefully sourced at the most perfect time.

Nourish Yo’self.

In addition to the taste benefits, because let’s be honest, that’s what most of us are worried about when chowing down, there are tremendous health benefits to eating fresh, carefully and responsibly grown foods, whether they are fruits, vegetables or proteins.  In the article 10 Reasons to Support Farmers Markets, posted on CUESA’s website, “

[much] food found in grocery stores is highly processed and grown using pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and genetic modifications.”  Nourishing your body with unaltered goods will make you feel better and help improve your health.

It’s FUN!

The idea that planning your meal around which goods are most sustainable during whichever season it happens to be, is frankly, kind of fun.  Many restaurants who focus on fresh goods are, in many ways, in a full-fledged marriage with this concept.  They use the goods which are most fresh and at the peak of ripeness.  So, why not also do that when cooking at home?  In addition to that, you also get to know the farmers who are enriching your palate and health.  You learn about your food and the people who work so hard to harvest it.

All that aside, farmers markets, although very much fun to attend on a weekly basis at your local library or community center, are becoming a permanent staple as indoor farmers markets now flood scene.  While there are some big names like Whole Foods (Whole Foods Canada) or Trader Joe’s which sell healthier options, buying from the source seems to be the new black.  As a real estate extraordinaire, you must know the specs that can potentially be used for an indoor market place.  So, what do we need to know?  It’s simple really…

  • Open spaces for maneuvering and also the setup of aisles and/or stands
  • High ceilings
  • Floors that can stand the dirt… Because usually the fresher it is, the dirtier it is.
  • Accessibility.  People need to get there after all.
  • The right demos – look for areas where people take advantage of farmers markets and will go frequently. While indoor farmers markets are a hot commodity right now in many cities, it does have to be the right situation.  If population and density isn’t there, then people will not come and the better option is to have a smaller, weekly farmers market.

Either way, it looks like farmers markets are here to stay, so let’s all enjoy what they have to offer!