Whether you visit your local farmers market to enjoy the weather and walk around or to fill up your basket with your favorite fresh produce, farmers markets are a great way to purchase healthy, local food while supporting the farmers that sourced it. The great thing about buying from a local farmers market is that many markets only carry locally-grown, locally-made and/or locally-sourced foods. This means that you can feel good about where your food came from and how it was grown. Plus, it may be fresher and more delicious because it hasn’t traveled far to get to you.
Due to some produce being local, some markets may be unique to their location and season, so if your local farmers market operates year-round, the produce and options may look completely different each month. “Supporting local” is on the rise, and farmers markets are no exception. Community farmers markets are growing so rapidly that in the last 25 years, they have increased from 2,000 to more than 8,700 currently registered markets. To find the nearest market to you and support local farmers, take a look at the Farmers Market Directory here.
Supporting local is not new to Chipotle, as the company has been doing just that for many years. Chipotle not only prides itself on serving real food, but also on the local produce that makes up a portion of the 53 ingredients that are used in our kitchens every day. As a part of Chipotle’s commitment to sustainability, it is a top priority to make sure the food we serve is made from ingredients that we have sourced responsibly and sustainably. As a company, Chipotle has expanded our Local Growers Program because buying from local farmers and growers not only helps strengthen rural communities, it also means we get delicious ingredients that travel fewer miles to our restaurant.
To build on our mission to help local farmers, Chipotle has launched a virtual farmers market. The purpose of the virtual farmers market is to connect you directly with a few of the family farmers that Chipotle has partnered with for years. The farmers featured in the virtual farmers market include: Niman Ranch – a network of family farms that supply Chipotle with humanely-raised pork for carnitas, Petaluma Creamery – supplies Chipotle with cow-friendly monterey jack cheese, McKaskle Family Farms – supplies Chipotle with organically grown long-grain rice, and Meister – their aged monterey jack cheese comes from small family farms in Wisconsin. Each of these farmers treats their animals with respect, prioritizes the planet, and avoids antibiotics and growth hormones. To buy from these local farmers online, simply use the link here and it will direct you to their online store.
If you aren’t able to visit the farmers market closest to you, Chipotle provides a great option to purchase from farmers online while still helping the agricultural industry. Chipotle even encourages customers to create Chipotle recipes at home using the produce purchased through the virtual farmers market.
Chipotle is also supporting farmers in other ways, including the Chipotle Seed Grants Program, which offers grants of $5,000 to 50 farmers under the age of 40. In partnership with the National Young Farmers Coalition and Niman Ranch, Chipotle is investing to cultivate the future of farming.
In addition to our virtual farmers market, we also recently launched a new line of non-GMO and certified organic Lemonades, Aguas Frescas, and Tea from farmer-created Tractor Beverage Co. All Tractor Beverages sold in our restaurants will help support the U.S. agricultural industry, with 5% of Chipotle’s profits from its sale of these beverages being donated to causes that support farmers. Funds will expand Chipotle’s existing farmer programs including long-term contracts, increased local sourcing, scholarships and grants to start, run or grow farming operations, among others.
Real, healthy food starts with the farmers that grow it, and farmers markets can be a great way to support local communities while making a sustainable and responsible choice. If you aren’t able to connect with farmers face to face at your local farmers market, you can now order online through Chipotle’s virtual farmers market and support local farmers no matter where you are. We can’t wait to see what you make with your delicious, local ingredients! Email us at email@example.com to let us know how Chipotle’s virtual farmers market has helped you support local.