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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Fresh Food is Local Food, and Local Food is Best

Lately I’ve noticed a lot of farmer’s markets dotting my area. So, I decided to check them out. It seems they all congregate Thursday, amassing their myriad of fruits and vegetables, some even showing off animal products. I’ll be the first to admit that going to the supermarket is practically a spiritual experience for me. The bright lights guiding you down the endless aisles of staple American food and their quintessential international counterparts. Visiting the farmer’s market almost felt as if I was switching my place of worship. I guiltily trolled the stalls, very aware of the misshapen and dirty produce stacked amateurishly. The vendors proudly displayed their local farm’s sign or announced their family’s name upon plaques and knowledgeably manned their station dressed in attire that would better suit the garden.
There’s something about these foods.  Knowing they came from the sweat of someone you can see, or someone who lives nearby puts an entirely new definition to homegrown. I have my own garden at home, but it’s always a roll of the dice. Will they get enough water or sun? Will the cutworms attack this year, or will the seeds be dug out by chipmunks? So many ‘what ifs’ and yet these hardworking people have bountiful baskets of the fruits of their labor. Unlike at the conventional supermarket, where I have an ingrained path to and from all my required sustenance, I wandered the markets without any goal in mind other than to appreciate the local food.
It just wouldn’t be right to leave these venues empty handed. At least that’s what I told myself.  At the end of the day I came away with heirloom tomatoes, carrots and eggs. Since then I have eaten the prizes quite contentedly. As with the products of my own garden, there is nothing like something fresh and locally grown, off the vine and out of the ground mere hours before you purchase it. Trust me when I say, you can taste the freshness of the farmer’s market. Try something and you’ll see the supermarket’s worldly collection simply cannot compare to the quality and flavor of local food.  The best aspect of a farmer’s market is that by buying local you support your neighbors and your hometown economy. I would urge anyone, foodies and non-foodies to invest in the wonders of the farmer’s market and enjoy its succulent reward.  

1 comment:

  1. If we all shopped local we could 1) save a ton of energy in transportation costs 2) save our family farms whose practices are generally much healthier than agribusiness.
    Now, if you add organic to that, it nourishes the soil, instead of depletes, and keeps our water, air, bodies and soil pesticide free.
    I pretty much stick to my local farmer's market, my organic CSA, my local food co-op and a very occasional foray to whole foods or trader joe's. When I enter the supermarket and see those lights, I want to run the other direction--so be careful--you may get hooked and those fluorescent lights and brightly shellacked, I mean stacked, fruits and veggies may not do it for you anymore.