I have blogged about farmer’s markets before, but I firmly believe they are a real undiscovered treasure in most communities. People are more focused on healthy eating these days, especially organic foods. While this might sound like an oddity in today’s supermarket culture, farmers markets are getting to be more and more popular each year. The products come from your local “foodshed”, the atmosphere is fun and will lift your spirits, and the food tastes fabulous.
There are lots of websites that will show you where to find your local farmer’s markets, or sometimes there are just lots of signs posted around. Don’t be afraid to try markets in towns around you as well. You will probably find different vendors and different products.
For my readers in the Lower Mainland of BC, check out http://whatsatthemarket.com/
By buying at your local farmers market, you’re cutting back the number of miles that your food journeyed to get to you, providing more of your food dollars directly to the growers, and protecting local agriculture and the green spaces that it supplies for our communities.
I read a great book once called The 100 Mile Diet by Alisa Smith and J.B.Mackinnon. It focused on a couple who decided to challenge themselves and only eat foods grown within 100 miles of where they lived.
What was kind of a bonus for me is that they live not far from me, so the book was about “my back yard.” Reading this book is one thing that got me into farmer’s markets. You get to talk right to the farmers or artisans.
I love that not only are there ton’s of fruit and veggies at our farmers market here in Burnaby BC, but artisan bakeries and (my favourite) cheese makers. You can get fresh fish, chicken and other meats as well directly from the producer.
You will also discover people who make things like jams, relishes and pickles. We bought some wonderful picked green beans on our last visit. There is a guy at our farmers market who makes great salsas and dips from mild to HOLY COW THAT’S HOT!
Do some comparison of prices at your supermarket and farmers market. You might discover that you are able to get a better deal at the farmers market. If a few items are particularly pricey at the farmers market, you are able to save those for your supermarket shopping list, or splurge once in a while and buy a treat.
We do that with cheese. My wife and I will get a couple of types of cheese (after tasting a bunch of course) and really savour it with some nice artisan bread and some fruit like local berries.
At our market, there are often bee keepers with honey and other bee products as well.
There are also lots of non food options like hand made soaps, carvings, toys and more. There are even artisan coffee and tea vendors. Nothing like a fresh hot beverage to sip while strolling through the booths.
One thing that really adds to the atmosphere, at least in our market and I am sure in many others, is that there are often local musicians playing. I have seen tables with bubble stuff for kids (or kids at heart) and on occasion a “take one – leave one” book table.
It’s recommended to bring reusable bags to the farmers market. You are able to preserve resources by bringing reusable canvas or cloth bags to carry all the goodies you bought, as well as plastic produce bags to hold individual fruits and veggies you purchase. This helps the Earth and it likewise helps the farmer by cutting down on their expenses.
You might even consider a Rubbermaid type container to put in your trunk to put everything in. There is nothing more annoying than to have all your fruits and veggies rolling all over the trunk.
And lastly. Have a blast at the market! Make your weekly farmers market trip a sort of an “outing” for your whole family. A great deal of the time there is music playing, booths where you are able to sample different foods and produce, purchase a meal and even games for youngsters.
Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!