A Vow to Visit Farmers’ Markets
One of your city’s best resources for top quality produce, meats, dairy products, breads and preserves are the local farmers’ markets. If you live in the northern hemisphere like I do, farmers’ markets are in full swing, brimming with interesting and colourful items, and a treasure-trove of ingredients and inspiration for any home entertaining soiree or feast.
On the other hand if you reside in a climate that is more conducive to year-round growing, than you are luckier than the rest of us who have a harder time eating locally when the ground is frozen four to six months a year.
Most of us city dwellers take advantage of this plethora of fresh, healthy goodness all too infrequently. Of course the degree to which people take advantage of shopping at farmers markets has to do with a variety of factors such as affordability, convenience, timing and proximity to a market, cultural values towards food, quality and variety of items at the market, your level of personal interest in food related matters as well as your willingness to support the local community.
How many times have I driven by the sign advertising my local market and made a mental note to stop by each Tuesday from mid- May through to the end of October, only to completely forget and let yet another week pass by without a visit? Instead, I often find myself staring at wilted lettuce and fruit that is either over-ripe or not ripe enough at one of the massive grocery stores in the city, disappointed by the lack of organic selection; or at home chomping down on tasteless, unnaturally large strawberries from California. As someone who lives in Toronto, Ontario strawberries may be a better choice.
I say, this year, do something different: grab some cash and a fabric bag, get out there in the sunshine and walk over to your nearest market. Good for you, good for the environment, good for the farmers. This summer you’ll be sure to find the tastiest, juiciest strawberries, raspberries, plums, peaches and apricots, not to mention a wide selection of greenhouse grown fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs. So take out your planner, diary, iPad calendar- whatever method it is you use to plan the important dates of your days, and pencil in ‘Trip to the Farmers’ Market’ this upcoming week!