Get to know your community When you buy directly from your farmer or food producer, you get the chance to talk to them! Find out just what it takes to grow strawberries in Connecticut, what the heat wave is doing to crops in the field, or what the sheep are eating. Ask another customer how they plan to prepare their eggplant or where they found that cheese. Farmers are also great connectors that often help network customers to each other. Members of CSA farms see each other weekly on pick-up day and chat about local news. Farmers market visitors smile and nod in recognition of each other each Saturday afternoon.
Enjoy the freshest, healthiest foods available You can really taste the difference! Foods grown and sold locally are picked at their peak - no need to harvest early to account for transportation time - meaning your Mansfield grown food will taste better, last longer, and pack a greater nutritional punch than foods picked many days or even weeks ago and transported across the country to reach you.
Keep your food dollars local Local farmers and producers spend more of their earnings locally than large, transnational corporations. They employ local residents, purchase tools and supplies from the local hardware stores, and engage local contractors for land and building projects. Farmers are quick to sign on as a sponsor of a community event, a booster of a local team, in addition to donating product to a fundraiser or community food bank.
Reduce your environmental impact Our local farms in and around Mansfield are different than large industrial farms that rely heavily on fossil fuels for fertilizers, pesticides, machinery, and transportation. When you shop where you live, you are reducing the carbon footprint of your dinner. Go a step further and purchase foods seasonally, getting in the habit of relying on products when they are locally available. Not only will a field tomato grown in August taste sweeter and more tomato-y than anything you can find in the grocery store, it also comes with the knowledge that it ripened in the same Mansfield rains and sunshine you’ve been enjoying all summer.
Preserve our beautiful, rural vistas Buying direct from local farmers means they can continue to farm their local agricultural lands. Farming is a challenging venture, with high input costs and unpredictable weather events. One simple step you can take to ensure the viability of working lands in Mansfield is to purchase directly from local farmers, whether at the farmers market, through a CSA, from a farm stand, or at a local business.
*Header photo courtesy of Storrs Farmers Market/Paterson Photo