It’s the weekend and that means I’m missing the Farmers Market back home in Fredericksburg.
When we’re on the road I like to head for the local market if I can.
Why do I like farmers markets?
1) I like to support area farmers. When neighboring farmers can make a living, then their land is safer from development and disappearance. My home in Fredericksburg is less than three miles away from I-95, one of the most polluted, clogged, and urbanized highways in the U.S. Yet just two miles in the other direction are pastures, fields, and breathing space for the soul and the lungs.
2) I like the quality of produce that is fresh from the ground or the tree branch. At the farmers market I can find tomatoes that don’t smell like plastic, lettuce that was resting on the earth just hours ago, and cucumbers that haven’t been waxed shinier than my kitchen floor.
3) I like to meet the people who grow my food . . . or harvest my honey, or bake my bread, or tend my cut flowers. Putting a real face to a product is so much more satisfying than making friends with the Walmart smiley face.
4) I like to be in touch with the season. I like buying asparagus in the spring, ripe melons in the summer, and butternut squash in the fall.
5) I like to bump into friends and neighbors, or when I’m out of town, to rub shoulders with kindred spirits.
6) I like the unique character that a farmers market has in common with its community. Some are purists: “Locally Produced Foods Only.” Some are wide open with musicians, artisans, and other vendors as wildly divergent as massage therapists and people who make jewelry from bullets.
Several national organizations support farmers markets and provide search tools to help find local markets at home or on the road. Try Local Harvest or the US Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service .
Already know and love your farmers market? Pledge to support your community market through the I Love My Farmers Market program run by American Farmland Trust (the No Farms, No Food people).
Have you ever visited your local farmers market? What about while you were on the road? Why do you love farmers markets? I’d love to hear from you. Just click on Leave a Comment below.