5 Reasons to Shop at Local Food Markets
When you travel and shop local food markets, you slow down ‘fast and convenient’ shopping habits.
Many slow travellers tend to stay in self-catered accommodation, with the convenience of cooking at home. By making an effort to shop local food markets, you live like a local and enhance your travel experience.
Shop at local food markets
Food markets are still very common in Europe and others parts of the world. In smaller towns and villages, where supermarkets don’t exist, people rely on weekly local markets to supply fresh produce.
The farmers market I visited this morning in the northwestern French town of Besançon runs twice a week selling fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat, fish, and bread.
Experiencing life like a local is not the only reason to shop local food markets. Here is my list of five benefits I came across when I had shopped at Besançons local farmers market.
1 Buy local, avert tourism leakage
When tourists buy local produce, the money spent remains and multiplies within the local economy. When tourists buy from supermarkets, mass producing souvenir shops or international branded shops, the money spent leaks out of the local economy and goes into the pockets of outside businesses.
Buying local supports local businesses, subsequently supporting the local economy and local communities.
Of course, we can’t find everything we need from local businesses, but we can buy local fresh produce and play our part in supporting local farmers and suppliers.
2 Discover natural foods
The vibrant colours of these cranberry beans, also known as borlotti beans, stood out as soon as I approached the stall.
Having never seen their raw state in a British supermarket, I had to buy some!
Unfortunately, they lose their colour when cooked. Had I not visited Besançon’s food market earlier this morning, I may still have never witnessed the beauty of the raw cranberry bean.
3 Avoid plastic packaging waste
This is one of my biggest bugs in life; the amount of packaging, mostly plastic, we are forced to throw away when we buy food from supermarkets and shops.
According to recycling-guide.org.uk, we Brits produced 30.5 million tonnes of waste in 2003/2004. 60% of that waste could have been recycled, only 17% actually was recycled.
When I shopped at Besançons food market today, I had one bag, which I filled up with my mostly unpackaged food. The only packaging used were recyclable paper bags.
4 Save money
It is true, to think, buying food at a budget supermarket is cheaper than buying from a local supplier. But when you are travelling, you probably won’t have the time to eat your way through a 1kg bag of carrots.
Especially if you are travelling solo or as a couple, you want to be able to buy quantities that suit you. Buying the exact amount of food you need at local markets, will avoid waste and save you money.
5 Learn a new recipe
And here it is! One of the three dishes I made from my farmers market shop. Cranberry bean, sun-dried tomato and goats cheese salad. A simplified, travel-friendly, adaptation of Meaningful Eats delicious recipe.
Adopting some slow food concepts, I have a new recipe under my belt, and one I can turn to again and again throughout my slow travels.
So next time you are travelling and have the opportunity to cook where you are staying. Be sure to pay a visit to your local food market, I promise, you won’t be disappointed.