I love a good farmer’s market. I love farmer’s markets so much, in fact, that I’ve been to two in the past three days. There’s just something about the atmosphere of the market that makes me feel somehow at peace. Wandering among the aisles of beautiful fresh produce and artisanal crafts, I feel an unparalelled sense of joy. There is just so much to love about snagging fresh produce, delicious bread and other little goodies straight from the farm. Weaving my way through the throngs of local-food-movement-devotees, I search out great deals and the juiciest fruits and vegetables to load into my market bag. I breathe in the scent of homemade doughnuts mixed with wafts of tomatoes, peaches, blueberries and even a few lingering strawberries in mid-August.
The farmer’s market has been a fixture in my somewhat-hippy-esque small city for years, but has recently gained popularity in the face of a barrage of “Eat Local!” messages in the media. For once, I find myself in cahoots with the media around me. This agreement with the messages being thrown at us from every angle is a miracle in and of itself- I so rarely appreciate media messages. But though the concept of trying our best to eat produce from where we live is not a new one, it has only recently come en vogue, and I think that the attention being given to local farmer’s markets and food co-ops is well deserved. I don’t 100% buy in to the “100 mile diet” type mentality, but if I have the opportunity to buy produce from nearby, why not do so? Not only does it generally taste better, but I often find better deals among the tented booths of the farmer’s market than at the grocery store.
The produce is only part of the reason why I like to go to the farmer’s market. As I mentioned earlier, there is a great community feel to shopping the market on a Saturday morning. Each time I go to the market, I’m guaranteed to see at least one person I know. Joyfully, I now actually enjoy running into people I know, and no longer cower away from familiar faces, embarrassed to just be me. Now I’m happy to shop locally, not only because I’ll be eating what I buy but because I enjoy seeing people who share my love of this Saturday morning ritual.
As much as I claimed to dislike living in “cow country” or so close to “the boonies” as a teenager growing up in my city, I now appreciate the opportunity to live in a community so rich in both farm-fresh goods and good old community spirit. So I’ll be shopping at the farmer’s market as much as I can, local spirit firmly in hand.