Thursday, March 17, 2011

JOT #2: The farmer's market

Continuing the theme of going local, one of my favorite places is the farmer's market. We're lucky around here to have several:

Plus others in surrounding towns and cities. What I love about them? Shopping for local food with local ambience. There are plenty of options in the organic category, and most everyone else is pesticide-free (they'll tell you why they haven't yet been certified organic). I always know what's in season, simply because it's available (the rarities at the market are often suspect)! In addition to produce, you can get bread and baked goods, chocolate, nuts, juice, dips and spreads, healthy snacks, flowers and plants, cheese, olive oil, tofu and soymilk, jewelry, popcorn or corn on the cob, and so much more. The the street is blocked off to traffic so kids are safe, and they can happily munch fruit or freebies while you shop. There's music, balloon artists, and enough free samples to make you hungry for lunch right there (also available, with seating, and yummy).  It's a place to find out about local politics as well, because you'll likely be asked to sign a petition. You can ask where the farm is so you can shop as locally as you want, and the farmer may tell you other things you didn't know about the local geography, or farming in general. You can expand your cooking repertoire, because you'll meet someone who can tell you what you can do with rhubarb besides make pie, or what that strange-looking leathery leafy green is (dino kale). You can bargain a good deal on a box of tomatoes to freeze for the winter, and stand around trying eight flavors of sorbet one by one without getting the boot. Oh! And they only take cash, to help you stay on budget.

No wonder I love the farmer's market. You can find one near you at Local Harvest.


Anonymous said...

I agree! Can't believe it took having a child to make the farmer's market a regular shopping trip. Such a good reminder to enjoy local and seasonal eating for the whole family. Remember you found kale chips awhile back? Have you tried making them yourself? Looking forward to more posts!

rani said...

I HAVE made kale chips - every time I go, I buy a bunch of $2 kale, make the chips in my dehydrator or solar oven, and eat them within a day or two :) I'll post the recipe later.