Every year from May until November you can find local farmers selling their fruits and vegetables at outdoor markets all across the United States. Tables laden with melons and berries, corn and potatoes offer customers produce fresh off the farm. Recently, VOA's Retno Pinasti and Supri Yono visited Boston, in the northeastern state of Massachusetts at the City Hall Farmers' Market where they had a chance to sample some of the farm fresh treats. VOA's Jim Bertel narrates.
Amid the hustle and bustle of the city, Bostonians can find a small piece of country life at the weekly City Hall Farmers' Market. The vendors are local farmers who travel into the city to sell their berries and peaches, radishes and rhubarbs to the city's busy work force.
Jeff Cole of the Federation of Massachusetts Farmers' Markets says these open-air markets are growing in popularity. "Most of the bigger cities have at least two or more farmers' markets. It is very much in a resurgence across the nation, directly getting food from a farmer verses going to the supermarket, which is great for both markets, but [especially] for the farmers who often struggle in America to make a living."
Instead of pushing a cart up and down sterile aisles at the supermarket, shoppers here wander among the vendors savoring the beautiful day and the farm fresh produce.
Chris Kurth is with Sienna Farms. "We grow a lot of different vegetables, fruits and flowers organically, a lot of baby greens, a few different types of arugula and watercress. Lots of heirloom tomatoes, which are just about to roll in, my best tomato crop in ten years despite the crazy rains we had this spring, they are doing really well which I am grateful for."
The City Hall Farmers' Market began nearly 30 years ago and has been growing ever since. Cole credits the expansion to hard work and loyal customers. "The consumer is increasing in their participation, more people are interested. The farmers are becoming more engaged with farmer's markets. We have some farmers now in this state that do twelve to thirteen markets a week. Obviously they have multiple trucks and multiple staff to do that. There are more farmers becoming interested."
Organizers say many factors have contributed to the market's increasing popularity including consumers' growing demand for organic foods, items that are grown without fertilizers, pesticides and other manmade substances. But perhaps the most important reason to shop at these open-air stalls is that with every ear of corn or box of berries you buy, shoppers ensure these local farms will exist in the future.