I have written before about how much I love the farmer’s market and how important it is to eat local, but I thought I’d step up on my soap box once more. This time, with pictures!
I buy most of my food every week at the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market. Fresh fruits and veggies, butter, herbs, cheese, meat, flour, eggs, honey, hot sauce, tea leaves, and sometimes bread and pastries.
Why I love the Farmer’s Market:
1. I feel better physically when I eat fresh, local food. Ever since switching to eating more real food, I have less stomach issues and barely get colds anymore.
2. I feel better emotionally. Not just because of those happy things in real food that are lost if they travel too far from where they’re grown, but because I know I’m supporting local economy.
3. I know where my food is coming from. It’s local. That means the nutrients are more intact. That also means it’s less likely they used chemicals to have to preserve freshness. If you don’t know if they use chemicals or not, you can ask if you want, and they’ll tell you. You don’t even have to pick up a phone. The farmers are right in front of you!
4. I know who my food is coming from. If big agrobusiness kills a few people, it barely nicks their bottom line. But if someone from the farmer’s market makes someone sick, word travels fast and you’re out of business and lose your livelihood. You are much more likely to take good care of your food, which means that it is healthier for the consumer, as well!
5. It’s fun and now it’s cool again! You get to see bright colorful foods, cute babies, and sometimes a dog or two. You get to catch up with your farmer friends. The smells of fresh coffee, ripe peaches, rotisserie chicken, and sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits float through the air. A free open-air concert will occasionally catch your ear, usually bluegrass, with instruments you might not be able to name. Oh, and did I mention…free samples! 🙂
6. Smiling faces. People recognize me, and I recognize them. Example: One time I purchased hot Italian sausage from Charis Eco-Farm and then got distracted and left it behind, not realizing it until the next day. Unfortunately I was out of town the next Saturday, so two Saturdays later I go back to the market. I see the guy (actually his name is Guy, haha), and before I even talk he says, “I bet you’re here for your sausage.” Two weeks later, and he still remembered exactly what I had purchased. That would never have happened at a chain store. It feels good to buy from real people with real, smiling faces.
So, let me introduce you to a couple of the smiling faces at the Harrisonburg Farmer’s Market.
This is The Egg Lady. At $2.50/dozen, her local, brown free range eggs are a steal! She’s very nice and apparently related to someone I work with. Small world!
This is the son of one of the owners of Singing Earth Produce: Rancho Calixto. Her mom is one of my favorite farmer’s market friends. We chat away in Spanish and swap recipes to use with the veggies I buy from her. She sells chiles poblanos, tomatillos, and I bought all my starter plants from her this year! Huge yield! 🙂 I have tomatoes coming out of my ears. ha!
This is Jeff from Charis Eco-Farm. I have a CSA through them, and yesterday I got free meat bones (for the second time). Woot! I am starting a collection in my freezer. 🙂 Seriously, though, it’ll come in handy for the winter when I’m in the mood for soups.
I don’t know who these people are, but I always get to the market too early to hear music, so I was excited by a surprise concert! They were good.
This is Patrick from Ryan’s Orchard. I seriously thought his name was Ryan until I took his picture and saw his name tag! Ha! Anyway, those peaches are amazing and the apples are great! They also sell apple cider. So delicious…
Well, that’s all I got for today. Just wanted to show you a bit of a typical Saturday at the Market for me. I hope this inspires you to check out your own local farmer’s market. If you’re not sure where they are near you, check out this site. Eat local!