Farmers Market Culture
By Isabel Moon and Mindy Nguyen
What is a Farmers Market?
A farmer’s market is a gathering of farmers selling their food and products directly to customers. They have been gaining popularity in the U.S. growing from 2,000 to 8,600 local markets in the last 25 years. Farmer markets are usually an assembly of booths and tables on a street or public place where people can walk around and buy different goods. The local market is open to everyone. To provide a safe public service for others, farmers markets abide by regulations that protect both vendors and consumers. For instance, the Santa Barbara farmers market in Downtown does not allow dogs without a leash in order to ensure food safety. By selling directly to customers, farmers cut out the middlemen and receive more of our food dollars. In turn, shoppers can enjoy the freshest produce while supporting local farmers and economies.
What to Expect?
Each farmers market varies in size and reflects the region’s agriculture and seasons. Farmers markets in the Santa Barbara region are year-round and offer a variety of produce and local grown goods. In the Santa Barbara region, expect to find an abundant amount of local vegetables and fruits at affordable prices. Some available produce includes: strawberries, avocadoes, asparagus, apricots, mint, and thyme. Each region defines the term “local” in their own ways, depending on what is available. Some vendors offer their own crafts from hand-made bracelets to homemade pasta. You can never fully know what to expect at your local farmers market without experiencing it for yourself.
Why is it Important to “Buy Local?”
Farmers markets are emerging in many communities as it provides an efficient source to generate business. When “buying local,” it cuts out the extra labor costs of middlemen and results in a greater profit for producers. How do consumers benefit from this trade? Shoppers receive first-hand, fresh products that are often cheaper than what is sold in grocery stores! “Buying local” is also a valued concept in the Coastal region as materials sold emit a sense of “authenticity” and “originality.” Whether you are just visiting Santa Barbara, Solvang, or Goleta, or exploring your residential market, you will not only find unique crafts but also support the region’s economy by circulating money within the local community.
Farmers Market Weekly Schedule
6 markets, 6 days a week
Corner of Santa Barbara and Cota Streets
In Goleta - corner of Storke and Hollister; 7004 Marketplace Dr., inside the Camino Real Shopping Center
500 and 600 blocks of State Street
In Solvang - Copenhagen Drive and First Street
In Carpinteria - 800 block of Linden Ave.
In Montecito - 1100 & 1200 blocks of Coast Village Road