I’ve long felt that farmers markets weren’t just for elitist food snobs with gobs of disposable income. They were for the average penny-pincher, too. I had nothing to back this up, just a theory. Peppers seemed cheaper. And squash.
Now, I’ve come across some studies that support my claim.
Politics of the Plate released an article recently about a study done in Vermont by graduate student Jake Robert Claro. In it, Claro found prices at farmers’ markets were lower for many conventionally produced grocery items than they were at supermarkets. For organic items, he found that the prices at farmers markets were nearly 40 percent cheaper.
“We’re starting to see enough competition among vendors at farmers’ markets that the prices are becoming competitive,” said Claro in an interview.
Claro’s study wasn’t the only one cited by Politics of the Plate. Closer to home for us in the Midwest, a study conducted by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture compared prices of conventional food in four Iowa cities and found that the farmers’ markets’ prices were often equal to or lower than those at grocery stores.
In Seattle, an economics professor at the University of Seattle had her students compare costs of 15 items at a farmers’ market and a nearby supermarket. The farmers’ market was slightly less expensive.
“It’s promising to see that regardless of the region, these studies are holding up,” said Claro is quoted saying. “This trend is going to grow stronger. Maybe that will put the elitist perception to rest.”
It’s finally farmers market season in Omaha. Here are some local Omaha farmers markets to check out:
Omaha Farmers Market
Benson Farmers Market
Village Pointe Farmers Market
Tomato Tomato (an indoor year-round market)