About the Market

Open Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.
from April through October
at Town Hall Park in Historic Downtown Smithfield

Eat Local Eat Fresh

Reasons to Eat Local Food
Eating local means more for the local economy. A dollar spent locally generates at least twice as much income for the local economy. When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction. Only 18 cents out of every dollar, when buying at a large supermarket, goes to the grower. 82 cents goes to various unnecessary middlemen. Cut them out of the picture and buy your food directly from your local farmer.

Locally grown produce is fresher. Food travels an average of 1400 miles until it reaches large supermarkets. Fruits and vegetables shipped form distant states and countries can spend as many as seven to fourteen days in transit before they arrive in the supermarket, and the varieties sold are chosen for their ability to withstand industrial harvesting equipment and extended travel. Produce that you purchase at your local farmer’s market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase. Local farmers can offer produce varieties bred for taste and freshness rather than shipping and long shelf life. This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value, which declines with time.

Local food just plain tastes better. Ever tried a tomato that was picked within 24 hours? ‘Nuff said.

Locally grown fruits and vegetables have longer to ripen. Because the produce will be handled less, locally grown fruit does not have to be “rugged” or to stand up to the rigors of shipping. This means that you are going to be getting peaches so ripe that they fall apart as you eat them, figs that would have been smashed to bits if they were sold using traditional methods, and melons that were allowed to ripen until the last possible minute on the vine.

Eating local food reduces your carbon footprint.
Local food doesn’t have to travel far. This reduces the carbon dioxide emissions and packing materials. A study in Iowa found that a regional diet consumed 17 times less oil and gas than a typical diet based on food shipped across the country.

Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons. By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.

Know your farmer, know your food. Buying locally grown food is fodder for a wonderful story. Buying food today is complicated. What pesticides were used? Is that corn genetically modified? Was that chicken free range or did it grow up in a box? People who eat locally find it easier to get answers. Many build relationships with farmers whom they trust. Knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown or raised enables you to choose safe food from farmers who avoid or reduce their use of chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, or genetically modified seed in their operations. Whether it’s the farmer who brings apples to market or the baker who makes bread, knowing part of the story about your food is such a powerful part of enjoying a meal.

Meet your neighbors. Local eating is social. Studies show that people shopping at farmers’ markets have 10 times more conversations than their counterparts at the supermarket.

Eating local protects us from E. coli and other food borne illnesses.
Food that spends large amounts of time in transit, changes hands multiple times, and is processed in huge batches provides nearly unlimited opportunities for both accidental and malicious contamination. Food with less distance to travel from farm to plate offers a safer alternative.

Local food translates to more variety. When a farmer is producing food that will not travel a long distance, will have a shorter shelf life, and does not have a high-yield demand, the farmer is free to try small crops of various fruits and vegetables that would probably never make it to a large supermarket. Supermarkets are interested in selling “Name brand” fruit: Romaine Lettuce, Red Delicious Apples, Russet Potatoes. Local producers often play with their crops from year to year, trying out Little Gem Lettuce, Senshu Apples, and Chieftain Potatoes.

Supporting local farmers supports responsible land development.
When you buy local, you give those with local open space – farms and pastures – an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped and you ensure that family farms in your community will continue to thrive and that healthy, flavorful, plentiful food will be available for future generations.