They’re similar, but not the same.
Summertime in the South means an abundance of fresh produce. We dream about freshly picked peaches, heirloom tomatoes, field peas, watermelon, and berries all year long, and when their season rolls around, we just can’t get enough. If you’re not lucky enough to have a backyard garden (or a generous neighbor who gardens), you’re going to want to head to a local farm stand or farmers’ market to get the freshest, best tasting fruits and vegetables.
A farm stand and farmers’ market might sound like the same thing, but they are actually very different. A farm stand is located near a farm and is typically run and owned by one farmer. These are the smaller markets you’ll typically find in more rural areas, on roadsides and outside you-pick farms. In addition to seasonal produce, you might also find other treats like homemade preserves and pickles, honey, boiled peanuts, and baked goods. Some people prefer shopping at farm stands because the produce doesn’t travel far from the farm, so you can be sure you’re getting fruits and vegetables at their peak. And farmers often say that a farm stand is good for them as well—it allows them to sell their produce without spending extra time and money traveling. Many farm stands are open daily; others are open on the weekends.
WATCH: Farmers' Market Pasta Salad
A farmers' market is typically much bigger—think of it as a gathering of farm stands from across a large area. Farmers set up booths or stands selling their produce on a certain day of the week, usually a Saturday or Sunday. Farmers' markets are especially popular in cities where people may not have easy access to local or regional farms. And they are great for people who love variety—unlike a single farm stand, you can find a much wider range of produce at a farmers’ market, plus other items like fresh eggs, meat, poultry, and even ready-to-eat foods and baked goods.
Which is better? It depends on what you’re looking for, and where you live. Both are great sources of fresh produce and support local farmers.