By Joan Qazi, Sustainable Wenatchee board member and Wenatchee Valley College professor
Juicy peaches, sweet Quincy corn, fresh mixed greens, and golden honey, all produced within thirty miles of us. We are so fortunate to live in an area of such agricultural bounty and to have a thriving farmers market where we can access it. Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market is celebrating its 40th anniversary, having been established in 1979 by Fran Taber and Jerry Pipitone with help from former Mayor Jim Lynch. After moving locations several times, the farmers market found its home outside the Pybus Public Market in 2013. If you haven’t been there yet, you are missing out!
The freshly picked produce at Wenatchee Valley Famers Market is at its peak of flavor and nutrition, so buying locally and eating seasonally is healthy. But did you know that shopping at Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market also promotes sustainability? With every dollar spent at our local farmers market, you are helping to keep agricultural diversity in our area by supporting new and smaller farms. This improves our community’s economic viability, with the bonus of getting to know who grows your food.
Farmers markets use far less energy than the brick and mortar grocery stores, because they use the sun for lighting, the wind for air conditioning, and an icebox or two instead of large-scale refrigeration units. According to the Worldwatch Institute, a basic diet made from imported ingredients uses four times the energy and generates four times the greenhouse gas emissions as the same diet made with local foods. So, when you shop at the farmers market, you are also fighting climate change. Your food will travel fewer miles to get to you, sometimes as little as two or three miles from the farm. And those farms can ‘sequester’ or store carbon out of the atmosphere in well-managed soils. If you ride your bike, the bus, walk, or carpool to the farmers market, then you are cutting greenhouse gases even more.
Photography by Robert Inn
If all those reasons weren’t enough, shopping at the Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market can reduce waste. There is very little packaging used on produce at farmers markets and even less if you bring your own reusable bag to take the fruit or veggies home. There is no need for large dumpsters at our farmers market, because any food not sold by the end of market can be donated to local food banks. Shopping at Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market is a win-win-win for the triple bottom line of sustainability! It is better for the planet, for people (who get to eat the fresh food), and for profit going to our small family farms.
Enjoy our local harvest at the following farmers markets:
Wenatchee Valley Farmers Market = Saturday 8am to 1pm, Wednesday 11am to 3pm.
Leavenworth Community Market = Thursdays 4pm to 8pm.
Lake Chelan Farmers Market = Saturday 8am to 1pm.
Quincy Farmers Market = Saturday 8am to 1pm.