Always known as a health-conscious state, California’s college town of Berkeley sustains the reputation by holding Farmers’ Markets each week on different days and in different locations around the city. Vendors sell products ranging from produce, meat, and baked goods to coffee, spices, and cooking oils. The markets are not necessarily local as some vendors get their products come from other locations, some still in state lines such as vendor, Maria Sanchez who gets her herbs from a farm in Aromas, Calif., or from far away like some vendors such as Aaron Barchie for Tofu Yu who acquires their soybeans from suppliers all the way in the Midwest. The Farmers’ Markets of Berkeley have been running strong since their establishment in 1987 and providing a fresh organic selection from which they know where their products come from as opposed to other chain grocery stores, which leave their customers wondering where they got their produce from. However, these markets only operate four times a week. Fortunately, they are actually not the only place where Berkeley residents can purchase reliable fresh and organic products.
A frequent patron of the Farmers’ Markets of Berkeley, Christine Tennant, regularly checks their selection but cannot completely rely on a market that only happens four days a week. However, when Tennant needs produce and the market is not in town, she does not go to chain supermarkets, she prefers to get her groceries from another local store to Berkeley, Monterey Market.
Monterey Market is a village based store that sells produce from local farmers and supports the local economy and has been doing so since 1980, before the Farmers’ Markets were even established. Tennant believes that every city should have locally run stores like Montery Market not only because she gets excited at the idea of supporting her community but because of the toll that food transportation takes on the environment. Food is distributed to supermarkets and restaurants all over the country and the movement of these foods greatly contributes to pollution. Local markets such as Monterey Market are key to greatly reducing transportation fuel emissions because locally grown foods for the community eliminate the need for that food to be transported great distances.
“Local markets are are a huge step in the right direction,” says Tennant.