A few weeks ago I (Katie) had the chance to go to Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington which is consistently rated as one of the top farmers markets in the United States. I loved seeing (and tasting samples) of all the beautiful fresh produce. We purchased fresh figs and peaches to enjoy in our hotel room. If we had been in town longer, I certainly would have bought more! It made me realize that I really don’t take the opportunity to go to local farmers markets like I should. I have become reliant on the grocery store and as a result, my family is missing out on the wonderful taste of really fresh and nutritious produce. While we are lucky to have the convenience of large grocery chain stores, I’m going to make more of an effort to support the local farmers in my area.
The Wikipedia entry on farmers markets states: Farmers’ market advocates believe the markets help farmers stay in business as well as preserve natural resources. Wholesale prices farmers get for their produce are very low, often near the cost of production. Farmers who sell direct to the public without going through a middle man get a better price. It can be shown that the preservation of farmland is important for the health of the environment and water supply. According to the American Farmland Trust, sustainable and managed farms conserve soil and clean water and provide a habitat for wildlife. Moreover, modern farmers’ markets help maintain important social ties, linking rural and urban populations and even close neighbors in mutually rewarding exchange.
Depending on where you live, you most likely have access to some source for locally grown food. If you want to find a farmers market in your area try some of these resources:
- America’s Top 25 Farmers Markets
- Community Supported Agriculture
- Farmers Markets in Canada
- Farmers Markets in Australia
- Worldwide guide to Open Air Markets
- USA TODAY: Farmers Markets offer Colorful Surprises
- Why eat locally grown food from about.com
Another reason I love going to farmers markets? They usually don’t mind if you take pictures! I think it’s nice to buy something from the vendor and then ask if you can take some pictures of their beautiful produce. I’ve never been turned down when I use that approach. 🙂 (Realize that vendors selling artwork will not allow photography for obvious reasons of copyright and copycat issues.)
With the Fall harvest season almost upon us, this is the perfect time of year to check out your own local farmers market. Enjoy!
P.S. The random winner for the From the Files Challenge is iciclelady who said “As always, you made me think outside the box to get the challenge done! Here’s my page:” http://www.flickr.com/photos/61725505@N00/4990548174/ Thanks so much to everyone who participated – all of the pages were amazing!