I have recently taken to going to farmers market every Saturday morning (more like 2 p.m. really, but morning is still a goal to be reached *sigh*). It’s a ritual my parents used to cultivate and now I finally managed to convince my husband to join in!
It is about making an enjoyable and even social event out of an otherwise dull and annoying chore of going shopping to a supermarket.
Here’s a couple of advantages of buying your food supplies at the farmers market:
1. It’s a way of keeping in touch with nature’s seasonal changes. The crops you see most of at the market are the cheapest and those are the true “seasonal” produce, so much talked about in the recent years. My mother used to say that eating what grows in your local surroundings and at a certain time is what your body needs most. And now you can read this all over internet and various health and lifestyle magazines!
2. You support local farmers and you benefit your health at the same time. AND it’s not really as expensive as buying from the “organic” shelf in a supermarket. The demand and supply rule here is more true than anywhere else. I always find that at any given part of the year, there’s a surplus of a given crop which consequently comes cheap and that’s what you should stock up on. It can be as plain as white cabbage or red beets, but with a little bit of googling, you’ll be amazed to discover how deliciously you can prepare even the least appealing of veggies. Which brings me to my next point.
3. By discovering new varieties and buying seasonal, your cooking repertoire can gradually expand, if only you invest a little bit of effort into it. Much better than sticking to the same few items year-round, which only taste good a couple of months in the year.
4. The main argument I used to have against shopping at farmers market was inconvenience. Sure, it takes a little bit of planning as the working hours are not on Sundays, at 9 pm and not even in late afternoons. But I do find it is a matter of getting used to. And once you do, you’ll be happy to see it as a part of a pleasant weekly routine. You can pick just one day in a week when you can imagine to have time to go and then stick to it. You can then do the fruit and vegetable shopping for the entire week ahead and already drool over all the fine dishes you will eat. It helps with the everyday meal planing, because you have already thought about what you’ll cook, so you don’t have to start from scratch every single day or relying on tuna pasta or take-away meal due to lack of time and appropriate ingredients.
5. Finally, after all the hard work of negotiating the prices, and working your way through the following week’s menu, you can reward yourself with a cup of coffee by the riverbank, a slice of cake in your favourite candy shop or a small, but tasty lunch just somewhere near. Pure joie de vivre!
Do you have a similar shopping routine or something completely different? Is there a similar farmer’s market where you live? I’d love to hear your opinions!