Scoping Out the Farmer’s Market

Supporting the local community and farmers are the only way for me. I love when the farmer’s market is in full bloom with the rainbow of vegetable and fruit carts, the best fish and cuts of meat. I have been lucky enough to experience some of the nicest open markets in the country, including Pike’s Place back in the 90’s. It is a gorgeous time walking around the open air exploring the booths and their products of plenty.

I enjoy speaking to the farmers and discussing the way they care for their animals and produce. I prefer items such as free-range chicken as I have seen the horrors of factory farming first hand and am uncomfortable with the abuses that abound at these places. I have visited many local farms over the years and do my best to buy locally whenever possible. Our farmers here in town often get overlooked and too many people are just not “in the know” regarding the amazing options available right in town.

The freshness and creativity of the items at a local farmer’s market never cease to amaze me. I spent a summer when I was in college working for a turnip farmer selling his food at the market along with a wonderful tungsten peeler taking off that tough skin to expose the delicious inside of this tuber. It was great fun and a lot of laughs and many people bought these turnips along with a peeler for easy preparation.

There are other products at a farmer’s market that are deliciously special as well. Honey and fruit preserves as well as baked goods are always on my list. If I came home without some homemade fudge and pastry I would be in the dog house-for sure! My kids love the hand made candies and other bonbons that line the shelves in their pretty cellophane packages ties up with ribbons.

I have done some traveling to Massachusetts when I was younger and visited a famous apple orchard and couldn’t believe the smell of cinnamon baking into each bite of the apple turnovers. The gooey pastry is served with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream from the local dairy. It is heavenly. I have also visited a great fair in Pennsylvania where the Amish sell their handmade candies and produce. They are a lovely people that continue the traditions that have been all but forgotten by our digital culture. I just was so charmed by them.

When I was in grade school, I visited some relatives in France and went to an open market in Paris. It was a fantastic trip and the food in Europe seemed to taste better. The melon was sweeter; the limes were more sour and the vegetables riper and fresher. The tomatoes in particular were a tasty treat and my French cousin made some hard-boiled egg sandwiches with lettuce and sliced tomatoes with just some salt and pepper. The bread had been baked that morning and the crispy outer later was flaky and perfectly salted.

Wherever you may live, do your level best to buy locally. Not only is it good for the community, small businesses and the farmers, but also the planet as a whole.