We could all learn a lot from farmers. They know their land and how to augment it so that seeds are nourished and cultivated into nutritious foods. They know how many months of perseverance are required for every tomato to make it onto our plates. They know the benefits of eating their bounty.
Since many of us live in urban areas, we’ve lost touch with these harbingers of food and flavor, but we can reconnect through farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets are plentiful during the summer months and many extend into September, which makes this a perfect time to go out, make a friend and reap a delicious harvest.
If you need convincing, here are some reasons why a weekly trip to the farmers’ market should be on your calendar:
1. You are supporting your local farmers. Farming is demanding work and with weather, pests and other factors, their job is tougher and their yield poorer. In other words, they work hard for their money. By purchasing directly from the farmer, you help them in many ways.
2. The food is fresh. Most of what you see on the tables and in the bins was picked early that morning or the previous day. On the contrary, supermarkets (especially those with low turnover) can keep those apples and cucumbers for days or longer until they show signs of age. I’ve had a leathery bunch of kale from a grocery store, but never from a farmers' market.
3. Your tastebuds know the difference. Seriously. Certain fruits and veggies show a more significant difference, but overall you will notice that what you’ve been eating is paling in comparison to these flavor-packed crops.
4. You save money. Take a $20 bill to the farmers’ market and see how much you take home. Go! My husband and I get enough fruit and veggies to last an entire week! Even when veggies aren’t priced less than their supermarket counterparts, the quantity you get is much more generous.
5. The food is inspiring. Trying new ingredients is exciting, which gets you in the kitchen happily cooking, which gets you eating great food! I know I get giddy at the market looking for new veggies to try and then bringing them home where I discover new ways to prepare and serve them. It all culminates in a yummy meal that satisfies in more ways than one.