Eating Locally

I’ve been visiting the Pearl Farmer’s Market and tried the new Quarry Farmers and Ranchers Market recently too.   I’m really enjoying getting produce and some other things that are super fresh and come from local area farmers and vendors.  Thanks to the example set by one of my daughters, I’m trying to go more organic as well.   It’s a learning experience!  Here are a few things I’ve learned:

1. Organic really does taste better!  I resisted the “organic thing” for a long time because of the extra cost.  A tomato’s a tomato, right?  Wrong!  There really is a difference–in taste, in appearance, in just about every way, including price.  But, the saying is true–you get what you pay for!   For a few extra cents, I’ve decided it’s worth it to get a tomato or a leek or an apple or potatoes that have flavor!  And a bonus–no pesticides or other questionable chemicals included!

2. Fresh from the local farm does not look like what I’m used to seeing in the grocery store!  It’s not all “prettied up”, it may still have dirt on it (how’s that for fresh?), it may not be as big or as picture-perfect as the produce in the store.  There’s a reason for that–it hasn’t been altered, sprayed, and otherwise manipulated to look pretty but taste like nothing.

3. Buying fresh means you gotta have a plan to use it!  Without all the preservatives and other “tricks of the trade” that keep produce in the store looking good and staying “fresh” for extended periods of time, real fresh produce is meant to be consumed–like now!  You might get a couple of days in the fridge, but fresh from the farm is not meant to sit around and wait for you to get inspired!  I must admit that I’ve had to toss a few things here and there because I waited too long to use it and it went bad.  So, if you’ve got a few days coming up when you know you’re not going to be in the kitchen, consider waiting to get the really fresh stuff until you have time to prepare it.

4. Buying directly from the farmer is a great opportunity to try something new.  Chances are, your farmer is happy to give you some ideas on how to prepare what you’ve decided to try.  And they’re usually happy to hear your ideas too!

5. As an empty nester with only 1 mouth to feed now, I appreciate being able to purchase in smaller quantities and have more variety.

6. I love the other items I find at the farmers’ markets–fresh eggs, baked goods, homemade jams & jellies, fresh meat (haven’t actually tried this yet, but I’ve heard wonderful things about it from friends who have), flowers, herbs, and other goodies!

7. Not everything at a farmers market is certified organic and not everything organic in the store comes straight from the farm.  But, to repeat what I said in #1, organic tastes better!  Fresh from the farm tastes better.  And when you combine those two and find organic produce at a farmers market–wow!

I hope you’ll visit a farmers market this weekend wherever you live.  And if that’s not possible, try the organic variety of your favorite fruit and/or veggie.  I bet you’ll agree with me on flavor!