Finding quality food in South Bend, Indiana can be a monumental task. After a week of classes that felt more like an eternity, sometimes you just want to eat all of the junk food that you can find. Don't miss out on the good stuff, though–these local markets are just around the corner. They support the community, and better yet, you gain access to so many health benefits that farmer's market produce provides. Check out these local places and get ready to stock up for all your fruit and veggie needs (and even your dorm room needs). 

1. South Bend Farmer's Market

With a variety of vendors, the options are endless, no matter what season it is. To make your life easier, the website has a "What's In Season" chart that shows you what local produce are currently available. If you want something fast, stop by their cafe for the weekly featured vendor. The variety of options makes this place accessible, not mention the fact that it makes saving money and veggies even easier. Watch out for the hours, though, because they're only open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

2. Purple Porch Co-op

Purple Porch always has new weekly vendors. This shop particularly serves and runs on community involvement. The shop is welcoming to anyone in the area and any visitors they may receive. The store and cafe are open every day of the week, and the Market hours are Wednesdays from 5-7 pm. Shopping at Purple Porch gives you a more local Whole Foods feel, with all the options of local, regional, vegan, and gluten-free choices. 

3. Garden Patch Market

Garden Patch likes to make shopping easy by offering some of the lowest prices on their goods. They also take pride in serving the community  local produce and healthy options. My favorite way to think of this place is the cheap version of Whole Foods. Another good thing to know about is to take advantage of buying in bulk there because they offer a 10% discount. They also have weekly sales and offer pretty popular products in the organic and health conscious shoppers.  

4. Fresh Thyme Farmer's Market

Always sign up for rewards programs. especially with this place. Fresh Thyme is a local option that has begun to spread across the nation. The products they offer are similar to those found at all other health food shops and markets. If you're searching for food inspiration or neat recipes, their website offers a list of recipes to try out. It's a South Bend classic that we can all appreciate. 

5. Down To Earth Natural Foods

Down to Earth offers a great variety of products to shop from, with not only produce, but also personal and beauty goods as well. This place could be coined the "all-natural Target" of your dreams. They have high-quality products that you can use in your home, such as soaps, lotions and salt scrubs. What more could you want?

These produce stores are all close to campus, and the veggie and fruit options are a billion times better than shopping at Target or Meijer. The best part: you're supporting local farmers and vendors in the community. If you're new to the market scene, here are some helpful tips to help you navigate your first trip.