The rising popularity of organic food over the last decade has been one of the big success stories of the 'green' movement. Now, taking it a step further, is the move toward buying food that is grown locally - and key to this are the farmers' markets sprouting all over the country.
Summer's height is the best time to explore the markets and enjoy the delicious smells and vibrant colors on display. Best of all meeting the growers themselves is a treat for us city-dwellers, and a reminder that the best food comes from the earth and the farmer's skilled hands, not a factory and a refrigerated truck.
I remember the roadside farm stands, selling everything from sweet corn to watermelon, that populated the countryside when I was a child. The farmers would often save their best produce for these stands since this is where their neighbors shopped. This tradition has grown into the huge farmers' markets that attract thousands on summer weekends today, but the humble roadside stand still holds its own - as a recent trip down California's Highway 1 proved. All along the way hand-painted signs advertised local stands and their bounty of organic tomatoes, artichokes and even kiwi fruit.
Why locally grown?It's simple really, since locally grown food hasn't traveled far its fresher, more nutritious and most importantly tastier. You'll usually save money too, since you've eliminated the middleman. Buying locally also helps growers to keep their land as farms instead of seeing it turned into yet another sub-division or shopping mall in always expanding suburbia.
There are many online resources to help you find a farmers' market near you, one of the best is Doing my grocery shopping at our local farmers' market is a pleasure, not a chore. The sights, smells and free samples all make for an enjoyable outing. The best part however, is meeting the farmers themselves and seeing their pride in the food that they provide to us all.
--Bonnie Trust Dahan, Founding Partner
We have started buying our fresh organically grown veggies and fruits from our local farmer's market, and it really is the real thing and it is so healthy!