The Task: We've always enjoyed Saturday morning trips to the farmers' market as a sort of novelty, but this year we want to start treating it more like a grocery store and less like a field trip!
The Why: A few nights ago, my husband was reading aloud to me and the children from Folks, This Ain't Normal by Joel Salatin and Mr Salatin stated that the average morsel of food in our culture has traveled farther than the farmer who grew it. And that got us thinking and talking about how much is affected when the food system is dysfunctional.
When we choose to shop at the farmers' market, we aren't just buying better food for our family, we are buying a better environment, a stronger local economy, and voting with our dollars for small-time farmers who are forced by nature and necessity to farm in a more sustainable manner.
My husband bought 5 different types of garlic! Most of us have probably only ever eaten 2 varieties! The woman who sold it to us told us about the different varieties and which were her favourites. Shopping the farmers' market encourages farmland biodiversity too!
The Verdict: I've heard people say that the cost of good food shouldn't matter because the earth and our health are important. In theory, I would like to agree with that, but the fact is that cost is a very real issue in our lives. I can only report on what I've experienced at my local farmers' market in my fertile corner of the Canadian landscape, but honestly, the farmers' market prices here are very similar to the grocery store. Some things, like meat and cheese and berries are much more expensive (and even so, there are ways to afford it. For example, I cannot afford a 17 dollar grass fed steak, but I can afford a couple pounds of grass-fed stew beef at 3.50 a pound!) But most of the veggies are reasonably priced. And oh so good.
We did stop off at the grocery store on the way home for some pecans and milk (can't buy milk at the farmers' market. Or, if you can, I don't know the right people and the secret password...) and we were quickly reminded that the farmers' market is a far more enjoyable way to do the grocery shopping!
This afternoon I'm headed to a party with some pretty pies I've made from fresh Ontario peaches and organic blueberries from a farm in town. Have I mentioned that I love summer?