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I’ve been anticipating this all summer.
The opening of farmer’s market season here in Florida.
After waiting all summer long, longing for locally-grown produce to find it’s way back into my kitchen via my beloved market, the weekend of opening finally came and I missed it! Talk about disappointment.
Fortunately, I was able to redeem the time and make it out to the market this weekend with two sleepy kiddos in tow. And boy, was it worth the wait.
I truly believe everyone who can, should shop a farmer’s market (unless you are self-sustainable which I am no where near close). While my humble backyard garden is flourishing and the chickens are finally back to “paying rent” (AKA, eggs), I simply can’t grow all our family eats.
So, when the season comes I happily wake early Saturday mornings, pour myself a big cup of coffee with a swirl of grass-fed raw cream and head out the door for a morning of fresh fruits and veggies, artisan breads and cheeses, and locally raised pastured meats.
It really is a glorious place!
So, what’s the big deal? Why not just sleep in and hit up the big conventional store?
Five reasons I shop my local farmers market and you should too:
1. Local food:
A good farmer’s market allows for local farmers to bring in locally grown produce, grass-fed meats and cheese, and pastured eggs. This provides farms the ability to sell directly to the public. Many farms actually prefer this method of selling their goods and only sell via the farmer’s market. This means you get locally-grown food while supporting local farms without the need to spend hours in the car.
Looking to eat real food on a budget? So am I! I love the farmer’s market because I can bring home lots of fresh, locally-grown real food for very inexpensive. Without the overhead of a large store, lots of employees, and long distance traveling costs, farmers are able to sell their goods for a fair price. This allows them to make a living and the buyer to afford delicious fresh food.
3. “Shake the hand that feeds you”:
One of the great food heroes of today, Micheal Pollan, said it best, “Shake the hand that feeds you”, meaning get to know those who raise the food you eat. A farmer’s market allows a relationship to form between the consumer and the grower. I look forward to seeing and talking with the farmers every Saturday. We talk about the weather, how to fry squash blossoms, and trouble shot my constant gardening worries and concerns. I know and trust the people who supplying my food.
4. Expand your palate:
Before shopping the farmers market I bought produce in a big name conventional grocery store. I pretty much bought the same produce over and over again: broccoli, apples, oranges, cucumbers, carrots, lettuce, and celery. The funny thing is those items were always avaliable and always looked and tasted the same. When I started shopping the farmers market I was disappointed.
What no broccoli?
Ma’am, it’s just not in season yet.
I was forced to buy other produce I hadn’t heard of before. Greens I didn’t know existed, flowers I didn’t know you could eat, and squashes in every color and shape. And each week the produce I bought varied in taste and often texture. Only in a processed food world does everything grow year round and taste the exact same.
5. Fun for the whole family:
You’d probably think the last place a three and half year old and eighteen month old would want to go is a farmer’s market. But guess what?
They love it!
They love visiting the local waffle lady who makes the best fresh, Belgium waffles topped with homemade whipped cream and fruit of their choice. They love watching the people interact and connect, listening to the music, and picking out the food we plan to eat for the week. The excitement of waking up early, meeting the people who grow our food, and picking out fresh bundles of carrots still dressed in rich, black dirt is exactly how I want them to remember their childhood.
Do you shop a local farmer’s market?
What do you love about your market?