Farm tomatoes, squash, sprouts, eggplant, salsa and honey – Oh My! Tea leaves, tamales, peppermint oil, natural remedies, breads and scones – Yum! Local olives, turquoise gems, leather, and even silver – Holy swap meets!
We find ourselves in beautiful Arizona exploring the local farmers markets and swap meets. We’ve been here for 10 days and we’ve gone to 6 events – what can I say, I love shopping local!
Since we were the original organizers of the farmers market in Luquillo, I have developed a desire to check one out everywhere I go. And since we are on vacation in Arizona, we decided to see what’s here.
When it comes to farmers markets, swap meets, and flea markets Arizona does not disappoint. In Tucson, where we stayed for part of the trip, there is practically a different farmers market for each day of the week.
In the Phoenix area, it’s the same and more. Besides farmers markets, the swap meets are many and very diverse. You will find anything like the typical flea market style markets, all the way to indoor, air-conditioned venues. There is something for everyone.
We’ve visited the Tangue Verde Swap Meet in Tucson where you can find just about anything, from a washer/dryer to a lollypop. Here you can sell if you simply show up and pay for the day (or night, this is also a night market).
We also visited the Mesa Swap Meet which is a permanent fixture where vendors get a regular booth, pay monthly, and must commit to either 6 or 12 months of selling.
One thing that strikes me as we walk around from table to table is how well organized everything is here. There are rules that everyone obeys and if they are broken there are real consequences. The rules are different for each market and some are much more strict than others.
For example, the Prescott Farmers Market doesn’t allow a resale of any items. And things that are made locally, even food, have to have at least 10% local ingredients.
I think that’s very cool for supporting and promoting local vendors. For example, even the bread vendor uses local flour from an Arizona mill to make the bread.
Another thing that I notice is the overwhelming support of the communities for the markets. Thousands of people come out to shop at both the farmers markets and the swap meets. Cool, eh? There is a real sense of community here. You will see anything from single, hurried shoppers, to folks walking around with their pooch, to whole families enjoying the day at the market. I really like that.
As we walked around, I started up conversations with some of the vendors. They told me that they make “real” money here and that for many of them this is a main source of income – that’s incredible!
At the swap meets, I even meet some folks that “work” for the owner because they run several booths at several markets. WOW! Very cool.
I love local markets! Support local and get out to your local market today.