Is shopping at the Farmers Market still on your ‘Summer To-Do List’? Well, even though Labor Day has passed, Farmers Markets are still open and will be into the fall with the best seasonal fruits and vegetables you’ll find anywhere.
My husband and I are what we call accidental gardeners. Each spring we optimistically turn over the soil and gently lower those tiny, fragile plants into the ground. If stuff grows, it’s an accident. Even this type of gardening isn’t for everyone. Gardening is time-consuming and doesn’t always yield results that offset all the labor involved. If you didn’t plant a garden or the one you did plant didn’t produce, rest assured that some of the best harvest is at your local Farmers Market now or will be coming very soon. There are lots of reasons to shop Farmers Markets. Here are my Top 5:
- Farm-to-Farmers Market Freshness. You can taste the difference. The produce you’ll buy this winter at your grocery store shipped from lands outside the U.S. will in no way match or even come close to the flavor of the fruits and vegetables at your local Farmers Market right now.
- A sense of community. Local Farmers Markets are a great place to run into friends or neighbors you haven’t seen for a while or better yet, pick up a friend along the way to the market and catch up as you shop.
- Your money remains in your community. Enough said.
- Meet the local hard working farmers. Discover new or unique vegetables or a new way to enjoy them. Farmers always appreciate questions about their crops and like establishing relationships with families who dine on their products. If you’re a return customer and cooked something with produce you bought there recently let them know. You’ll be moved to the head of the class. . .so to speak.
- Events. Most Farmers Markets have special events that are a lot of fun and again, a chance to see friends and neighbors. My local Farmers Market in Mt. Clemens http://www.mountclemensfarmersmarket.com/ has had several events this summer (my favorite was the Battle of the Chefs) with more scheduled for fall, including:
Tater & Pork Roast (September 12)
Roasted pork and locally grown loaded potatoes. I know — mouth-watering!
Apple Festival (September 27)
Free cider and donuts (while supplies last).
Soup Day (October 10)
Homemade soups from the freshest ingredients at the market. I am a h.u.g.e. soup lover. Look for me there!
Just a couple of tips when you go:
- Go early to beat the crowds. Make a pass through the entire market at least once to see what’s there. Sample everything offered. Have an idea of what you want to buy, but keep an open mind.
- Unlike the grocery store where it can be um. . .challenging to take small children, a Farmers Market is a great place for them. Give them their own bag and let them choose a vegetable or fruit to buy. Picky eaters are more apt to try something new if they’ve selected it themselves. I was at the Mt. Clemens Farmers Market recently when I saw a mother and young girl about 9 or 10 years old. The girl carried what looked like a written list and several dollar bills . I watched with interest as the girl wove her way through the crowds, pausing to look at different stands, looking down at her list, then at the produce on display. That young girl was already learning the benefits of shopping the Farmers Market. I wish I would have stopped her mother to compliment her not only on her choice of Saturday activities for her young daughter but her obvious patience after what had probably been a busy week. Some very valuable lessons were learned that day.
- Take cash (small bills are appreciated).
- Leave Fido at home. Dogs aren’t allowed at most farm markets.
- Have fun!