Farmers markets offer an exciting array of ways to add joy to our lives. From the healthy, fresh and delicious produce to connecting with our community, the experience not only benefits us, but the local farmers as well. When I have that craving for wholesome nutrition I can’t wait to visit, especially when I take my daughter!
Many of you know by now that I’m a huge lover of our planet and the Universe. The idea that our world can produce amazing delicious, nutritious and organic food makes me so happy. Like many I am conscious of my budget so I can’t always buy organic, but I sure do taste the difference. So, when I’m able to shop and select from produce that has come right from the farm, I feel almost giddy.
By shopping at the farmers market I am also helping to protect the planet. The local farmers only have to travel a short distance, rather than the long distances of non-local produce which adds transportation pollution to our environment. Now, I know that transportation is necessary for some things, but I feel better when I am able to make a positive difference supporting a healthy environment and the livelihood of local farmers.
One set of my grandparents lived in Maine and as a child I vividly remember my grandmother telling me, “Wendy, go down to the garden and some pick green beans and tomatoes for dinner.” I went with energetic eagerness because I loved the smell of fresh vegetables right out of the soil. That, and walking past the sunflowers to get there. Imagine, just going to the garden to get what you want for dinner. The original farm-to-table concept… it used to be just an everyday way of life!
When I go to a farmers market, I am reminded of memories like that, and lots of local fruit and vegetable stands I was lucky enough to pass by regularly in the New England summers. Shopping with my daughter today is a way for me to share these values with her and make new memories. She is now 13 and loves to cook. Well, bake more than anything. She has a bit of a sweet tooth. However, watching her pick out produce and other items and talk to the farmers warms my heart.
I love knowing where our food comes from. Before I eat I give my own version of thanks, either silently or aloud, to all those who had a hand in the nourishment I am about to consume. Shopping at a farmers market allows me to learn more about how my food was grown and harvested, the organic and sustainable farming practices used, as well as thank some of those individuals personally.
In addition to connecting with the local farmers, going to farmers markets are a great way to connect with other people in the community. They are a great place to meet up with friends or even to meet new people! Sometimes I learn about new people, businesses or organizations in my community I didn’t know about before. Being there makes me feel like part of the whole process and connected in many different ways.
The variety offered is outstanding. I have been introduced to fruits, vegetables, herbs, honey and others I don’t think to try, either because they are not found in the supermarket or because I am not familiar with them. One of my favorites was the yellow watermelon! I had no idea they even existed, but they are just as tasty as the red kind. At the farmers market I can ask questions, learn and expand my knowledge and flavor palette.
We can also celebrate the change in seasons. There are different offerings available depending on the season. I’m lucky living in Southern California to be blessed with year-round fresh, in-season produce. While I love the sweet, juicy strawberries in spring and blueberries and watermelon in the summer, I look forward to the fall with all the fresh root vegetables and even more goodies in winter.
When I leave the farmers market with my bags of edible treasure, I do so feeling like I have made a positive difference for me, my family, my community and my planet. These are important values to me, so my heart feels full and I am excited to get home and cook up a delicious meal for my family. It’s even better when I share the cooking with my daughter and family!
Visit your local farmers market. Support local farmers, the planet and your health. Spread the joy!