continued The main purpose of this regulation is to ensure all products sold are fresh and healthy, cultivated and harvested in safe and healthy ways.
“The people who grow it are the ones who sell it,” LaForte said. “People who come here can be certain this way that it is all local, fresh and safe.”
Murphy and LaForte verify this not only on paper, but also in person. Part of their job managing the farmers’ market is to visit each participating vendor’s farm and ensure the farmer is practicing sound, safe and healthy agricultural operations.
“It’s all really for the customer and the end sale, so the customers know they got good clean, wholesome products,” LaForte said.
This knowledge of obtaining fresh and healthy food is one of many reasons people utilize farmers’ markets and why farmers’ markets are becoming more prevalent and more popular in recent years, said Mark E. Burger, executive director of the Onondaga County Soil and Water Conservation District and program manager for the Skaneateles Lake Watershed Agricultural Program.
“We love farmers’ markets; they have so many benefits,” Burger said. “You can meet the farmers that produced that food and question them about their growing practices and handling practices, and even go to the farm to see how and where the food is produced. It helps reconnect people to the land, and it’s a low carbon footprint because the food is not grown in a state far away and shipped to Central New York via a lot of fossil fuel use.”
Additionally, buying from farmers’ markets gives money directly to the farmers, avoids the middle man and helps ensure a standard of living that will keep the farmer on the land for many years to come, Burger said. Keeping farms on the landscape also maintain open spaces and vistas that keep the region an attractive place to live.