A Love Letter To Farmers' Markets
‘Tis the season to shun the fluorescent lights of the grocery store and get all your produce fresh from the source: your local farmers’ market. How much do we love farmers' markets? Let us count the ways:
Truly Fresh Produce
Much of the produce we buy at the grocery store has traveled hundreds – if not thousands – of miles between the farm and the shelf. The farmers at your local farmers' market live in your community. They are your neighbors. Depending on where you live, there could be as little as a mile between the market and the actual farm. Fruit and vegetables are often picked the same day they’re sold. It doesn’t get any fresher than that!
A Closer Connection With Your Food
Between the prevalence of processed snack food, factory farms, and GMOs, we are more disconnected with our food sources than at any other point in human history. Farmers' markets have the power to change that. Wander up to a table overflowing with fresh veggies grown just a few miles away, and talk to the person who grew them. Ask them questions. Get to know them. It’s incredibly empowering to understand exactly where your food comes from and all the work that went into growing it and getting it onto your plate.
Supporting Local Farmers
While it’s important to meet the people who grow your food, it’s even more important to support the people who grow your food. Paying them for produce directly at the farmers' market cuts out the middle man and lets them keep doing the important work they do. By supporting them with your dollars, you are strengthening your local economy and casting a vote in favor of the Real Food movement. Go, you!
You won’t find any Cheetos or Hostess Cupcakes for sale at the farmers' market. What you will find is fresh fruits and veggies, scratch-made breads, natural jams, oatmeal, locally roasted coffee, artisan cheese, organic eggs, and free-range meats. It’s easy to make healthy food choices when confronted with a plethora of options like these – not to mention neighbors and vendors eager to share cooking tips and swap recipes.
Three words: Farmers'. Market. Outfits
Is this an extremely superficial reason to enjoy farmers' markets? Yes. But if you’ve ever stopped the girl in front of you at the turnip booth to compliment her on her vintage overalls, you know farmers' markets can be a surprisingly fashionable affair. It’s fun to throw on your favorite sundress and straw fedora (and don’t forget your reusable tote bag!) and go join the stylish people.
Some farmers' markets consist of a few card tables set up in a strip mall parking lot. Others are lavish productions with live music, food trucks, and fanciful booths. Wherever your local market falls on the ambiance spectrum, one thing’s for sure: shopping in the fresh air is always better than pushing your way through a crowded grocery store.
A Renewed Sense of Community
Farmers' markets create a wonderful space for neighbors to gather, meet each other, support local business, and strengthen ties to their community. And in an age where we connect almost exclusively through devices and digital means, really, what’s not to love about that?
Winona Dimeo-Ediger is an American writer, satirist, and fashion personality. She is the author of the humorous fashion book, “Closet Confidential: Style Secrets Learned the Hard Way”.