“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow” -Anonymous
One of the most important things for me is to be grateful for everything in my life, and since this site is about food, I can’t tell you how grateful I am to live where fresh local food is abundant year-round. California. Oh what a glorious place!
Currently in my local farmers market there is a plethora of mother earth’s goodness – everything from stone fruit (yes still! even I can’t believe it!) to beets, apples, jujubes, kale, heirloom tomatoes, eggs, cheese, sprouts, parsnips, onion, yams, grapes, broccoli, dates, almonds, and seriously a lot more. Trust me I could go on, and on.
So that’s great that there is an abundance of local food where I live, but what’s the point of schlepping out to the farmers market, where it will probably be very busy, sometimes cold, maybe even a bit further from your house than your local supermarket?
There are many reasons.
You know for sure that veggies and other products will be fresh – most picked the day before or even that morning (just ask the people at the stand). Fresh seasonal fruits and veggies have more nutrition and are bursting with flavor; plus when you’re buying in season produce it’s definitely going to cost less as it’s more abundant. Going to the farmers market you also get to know who’s growing your food – if they look healthy it’s almost a guarantee that they are not using harsh chemical pesticides, herbicides, etc – but looks can be deceiving and you can and should always ask about their growing methods.
Is it ORGANIC? Most of the time small farms choose to not be certified organic, but you will notice that their practices are beyond organic. Organic certification costs a lot of money and doesn’t make sense for small farms, plus many small farmers do not like what the organic symbol currently stands for, as many large companies are taking advantage of the huge marketing and profit potential of the symbol – but are cutting corners when it comes to really truly being organic. So just because a stand isn’t certified organic, doesn’t mean they aren’t following organic practices.
Recipes! Vendors are almost always happy to share recipes, cooking tips, and storage tips. If you don’t know what a certain veggie is and want to try something new, definitely ask – most are more than happy to share their tips.
Don’t be intimidated by farmers markets – I think sometimes they can be intimidating… unknown vegetables, strange herbs, a lot of people who look like they know what they are doing 😉 etc – just take a general browse around, see what’s available, note what you need or want to try, and get right in there! Soon enough you will also be one of those people who “look like they know what they are doing.”
And remember to always be grateful!