HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – As prices continue to go up at the grocery stores, local farmers offer an alternative: purchasing fresh produce and locally-sourced items at farmers markets.
“With inflation being the way that it is, everyone is trying to find where they can find the best deal,” said Omar Henry with Henry Family Farms. “One of the great things everyone loves about coming to the market is that they can actually find better deals a lot of times than you find in your local grocery store, and honestly, you find more variety.”
When you shop from markets, local farmers say you can learn more about the items you buy and where they come from.
“You get to know the product, and we get to know you,” said Trinity Roggensack.
Roggensack works with Humble Heart Farms, a local goat cheese supplier. She said when you buy their cheese, you’re buying a natural product made with care.
“You can find out what we feed our goats,” Roggensack said. “We actually have an animal nutritionist that works with us, and he makes the recipe for our feed. We get what we need for our goats’ feed, and it’s healthy for our goats.”
The items you buy are often fresher than their grocery store counterparts.
“Local produce, to me, it’s more nutritious,” said Dion Carroll of Greenleaf Farms. “Generally a product you eat in the first few days is better for you than one eaten a week later. There are more vitamins, more taste, and more flavor.”
The shipping process that produce undergoes to travel from farms to grocery stores is also a part of what drives up the cost. As gas prices go up, it becomes more expensive to transport fruit and vegetables to stores, and when grocery store shelves are bare, supply-chain issues often play a role.
“Having a local place where you can directly source is invaluable,” Henry said.
As many of us have noticed price increases on items necessary in our daily lives, some farmers have said they’re also having to pay more for the things they need to do their jobs.
Brian Spradlin has worked on a family farm since he was a kid, but in recent years, the cost of operating that farm has continued to go up. He said glass jars and pesticides are some of the items he has noticed are more expensive lately. Even water is more expensive, according to Spradlin, as a lack of recent rainfall drives prices up.
“This is what I want to do,” Spradlin said. “I want to inherit the farm. I want to keep on doing this, but it just seems more and more unattainable.”
Spradlin said small farms do not receive many of the federal subsidies that large, corporate farms are granted, but the industry is helped when people shop for produce from local farmers.
Here are a few places where you can shop locally:
- The Market at Mid City – Open Sundays 1 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. March through November
- 5909 University Dr. NW
- Greene Street Market at Nativity – Open Thursdays 3 p.m. – 8 p.m. May through October
- 304 Eustis Avenue