If I could create an over-lapping fifth season, it would officially be called Market Season. The vendors at farmers markets tote fresh produce, flowers, local delights, and crafted wares, and these markets are popping up all over the country typically from April through September- and I’m usually counting down until it’s that special time of year again.
Hands down, the best part of going to a farmers market is the food. In my experience, a cherry tomato plucked from a vine the morning of the market will always be sweeter than anything you could get in a store. I don’t think anyone would argue that they want their produce just a little bit older.
If the plants weren’t enough already to make me excited to whip out my reusable totes, the tasty, home-baked treats would be. Bakery items, secret-family-recipe Red Pepper Jelly or blackberry jam, regional favorites like spicy Woodstead sauce or Nunda Mustards, homemade herbed goat cheese –I’m starting to get hungry just thinking about these things. I could live solely off of farmers market finds and die a happy camper.
I heard someone comment the other day about how they don’t like going to markets because they were worried that pricing would be too expensive.
On one hand, I’ve found that pricing tends to be pretty competitive. And a lot of farmers will set up bargains for multiple purchases or frequent customers. Only when you’re dealing with the seller directly can they come up with a sale on the fly. Don’t bother trying that at a standard grocery store!
Yet, I’ve also found that higher prices than the bargain brands don’t seem to bother me at a farmers market. I know that I’m getting the quality to back up the pricing. Also, if what I pay for essentially casts a vote for the world I’m hoping for, local businesses and farms can have my extra dollar every time.
That brings me to another plus side: the farm-to-table aspect of a farmers market not only means better, tastier food -it means that you get the opportunity to talk to the people that are growing your food. Markets are great for setting up the chance for you to interact with your neighbors by forming a community around one thing we all have in common: we’ve all got to eat!
Let’s take advantage of Market Season and eat in a way in which everyone wins.