I am a huge proponent of fresh and organic foods. In fact, because I am so picky about the taste and nutritional value of the food I buy, I find myself often shopping like a French woman. What does that mean? Unlike American shoppers who load up on groceries for the entire week, the French love to plan their meals daily, which involves a special trip to the market each day to buy the food needed for their menu. This daily ritual makes certain that ingredients will be fresh since little time has passed from farm to table. Specialty grocers are my preference, but without a doubt one of my favorite outings is a trip to the farmers market.
My home in the Berkshires is surrounded by wonderful farmer’s markets that local restaurateurs frequent to ensure their dishes are seasonal and always made with the freshest of ingredients. This makes such a difference to the quality of each meal. Even the simplest recipes become delectable entrees with fresh ingredients.
As summer slowly comes to a close, I encourage you to get out to your local farmers market, whether in the city, suburbs or country and take advantage of their fresh and seasonal produce before they close for the winter.
Here are a few reasons to seek out the nearest farm stand or market:
- The produce is always seasonal. This ensures freshness and the fruits and vegetables will be at their best taste. It also encourages you to change up your dishes with every season. Since fall is approaching, start looking for a variety of gourds which make wonderful sauces and soups.
- Enjoy food that is healthy. Often the food found in supermarkets is laden with hormones, pesticides and antibiotics. Needless to say, this is not a healthy addition to your meal. Most fresh offerings found at farmers markets, on the other hand, are minimally processed and grown with sustainable techniques so not only are you safeguarding your health, but supporting the environment.
You are supporting your local farmer. These days family farmers are struggling to compete in the global market place. It’s nice to know farmers markets showcase the produce of the area while providing business for nearby farmers.
- Learn new recipes while experimenting with an array of exotic vegetables and unusual fruits. I guarantee that when visiting a farmers market you will be introduced to varieties of produce you’ve never seen. The colors, sizes, and different shapes of tomatoes, for instance, will give you a new appreciation of what you can do with a salad. Also you will be among those who are as equally passionate about food and who may be full of suggestions for new ways to serve up cucumbers, provide a trick to bake apples or an unusual spice to sprinkle on that purple cauliflower.
One of my favorite reasons to visit my local farmers markets is to connect with my community. Here you will see all those who appreciate the best in produce. Fresh air, fresh food and friends abound at a farmers market which beats the weekly grind to the supermarket. Besides where else can you find vegetables sporting unusual names and dazzling colors? It’s a foodie’s favorite shopping experience and fun field trip for those who love to cook. Until next time, friends. – by Carmel Baronoff, RFT Healthy Travel Expert, and host of PBS’s television series “Living Well with Carmel.”