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Farmer's Market

Buying food at your local farmer's market is a very pleasant way to obtain the freshest, most delicious produce. I still remember the taste of the strawberries and tender French green beans I used to buy at the farmer's market in Santa Barbara, California, when I was a graduate student there. When my children were little, I used to leave them with a delightful elderly couple who liked to knit and listen to the live music in the center of our market, while I ran around and collected food from the stands.

Shopping at a farmer's market (or participating in a CSA, another way to support local farmers), puts us in touch with what crops thrive in the area, and enables us to give neighboring organic farmers income, even if their operations are relatively small. I remember when I lived in Central Texas, our CSA tended to fill the box with mostly okra at the end of the season, when it was too hot to grow much else. There is a reason why okra features prominently in southern cooking!

Here in Colorado, we enjoy the twice monthly farmer's market that sprouts up in a parking lot the middle of our nearby small town. Offerings include a variety of delicious fresh produce, from mushrooms, squash, tomatoes, greens, carrots, herbs, and peppers, to grass-fed beef grown on ranches in the same valley, and even wild-caught salmon sold directly by the fisherman. Vendors also sell useful locally handmade items: we've purchased gluten-free breads, leather goods, pottery, wine, and tamales. We walk around with our basket or reusable shopping bags, so there is no need for plastic packaging or single-use bags. Seeing the same farmers and craftspeople week after week makes us familiar to each other and allows us to offer each other encouragement as well as food and income.

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