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Most of us think farmer’s markets are synonymous with summer. But as fall picks up the pace, farmer’s markets are still brimming with fresh produce. Why should you swap your weekly grocery store trips for market excursions? Read on to find out.

Support small farmers – With large industrial farms monopolizing most of the produce you find in stores, farmer’s markets are one place where small farmers can continue to make a living. Just like you can control what industry you support by the food you put on your fork, you can choose to support small over industrialized by choosing to spend your money at the market.

Support your local economy – Similar to supporting small farms, supporting local farms puts money directly back into your local economy. Helping out small businesses—including local farms—is a great way to do your part and give back to your community.

Gain a sense of community – Even if your farmer’s market produce is a smidge more expensive than what you can get at the grocery store, or a bit more limited (more radishes? Really?), there is nothing like chatting with the farmer about his harvest, or running into familiar faces week after week. Shopping at the local market, the way people did before huge fluorescent-lit grocery stores were the norm, can foster a sense of closeness within the community that is irreplaceable.

Eat seasonally – By planning your meals around your farmer’s market purchases, you’re making most of your meals local. Since we are so accustomed to being able to get any kind of product at any time of year in our grocery stores, we rarely focus on seasonal produce. Eating seasonally helps reduce your carbon footprint (less fuel used to transport those veggies!) and allows you to appreciate those seasonal gems—hello, squash!–when they do make it to your plate.

Eat fresh – Hands down, fresh picked garden produce tastes better because it’s fresher than anything you can purchase in the grocery store, which was shipped and stored for who knows how long. Produce tastes sweetest when fresh, so dig in!

Zoe Eisenberg is the Associate Editor for RISMedia.