Why to Shop Local: Hit up the Farmer’s Market

11866371_10101052932806483_1362629712367652709_nBlissful. Food (and bag from Anne) from farmers and people I know. To each item there is a name. A face. A smile. A conversation and interaction. A memory. There is a connection. Things that matter to me in my striving to be more mindful.

This is most definitely the pic and words I posted after our farmer’s market on Saturday. I am about to give a whole page of why to shop at your local farmer’s market, but this is the summary of what comes straight from my heart.

20150725_081723 (1)I have always loved going to markets. Maybe it’s because I grew up in the Midwest. Because I’m used to drives in the country. To watching breathtaking sunsets over never-ending cornfields. Maybe it’s because my parents efforts to teach self-reliance, meant my brother and I grew up working for our cash. We spent our summers tending to the cornfields we planted, sitting at our little humble roadside stand, selling sweet corn to avid Hoosier lovers of the stuff.

20150725_081403 (1)Needless to say, I am drawn to them, like some magnetic pole. Like my internal navigation takes me there automatically. When our Alaskan cruise docked out of Seattle, I HAD to stop by Pikes Place Market. In my mind I had painted it to be the king of all farmer’s market. Of course I was not let down. I wish I had traveled alone just so I could spend at least half a day, meandering through its treasures. It made me want a little apartment in Seattle. I began envisioning myself traversing the hilly sidewalks as the sun rose, stopping by the market to pick up a beautiful flower bouquet to give my apartment some vitality, color, and intoxicating smell. I could grab a few fresh Rainier cherries and a piece of fresh fish straight from a boat recently docked from ocean adventures. See how quickly my imagination spins?

20150725_082232 (1)Then there was my trip to California. The one where I just took off with nothing but a pack and round trip tickets to San Francisco. I was amazed (in Heaven) when the cab stopped at a bus port that just so happened to be right next to their Farmer’s Market. Partly indoors. Partly outdoor. Full perfection. There were booths for everything I could want. I questioned just spending days there. Do I really need to travel to Yosemite? I can just stay here in this little slice of heaven.

20150725_112005 (1)What is the deal with shopping at markets? Why should you start shopping locally?

To me it is like I wrote above. It is about a connection, not just to my food source, but the people harvesting and making it. I used to be really shy growing up. Now as I age and fall into my Bob Marley ‘One Love’ mindset, I felt like I’ve wasted a good 20 years denying myself of true human interaction and connection. Because I’ve learned I can get along with pretty much anyone. I can find some kind of similarity with pretty much anyone. If you are open and believe the best in people, they will often show you that. Being at the market, I walk away with an unbeatable high that there is no crash from. From radical mind blowing conversations and interactions. I never who I’ll meet or what we’ll talk about (skies the limit), but it fills me up!

20150725_081740 (1)Why else? Why should you hit up your local market?

  • You have an opportunity to eat seasonally
  • FRESH, newly picked fruits and vegetables by the hands you are shaking
  • Healthier and more nutritious. Talk to the farmer’s. Ask them their practices. Find out who is certified organic. And if not, see how they’re growing anyways, but they didn’t want to go through the hassle of certifications. Better yet see if you can visit their farm
  • Talk to a farmer. More on ths, you can ask more than how it’s grown. See what else is coming in season. How much longer it will be in season. Tips on growing it yourself. Tips on how to prepare it. How to store it. Don’t be afraid to ask. They are typically more than willing to share and open up.
  • Shopping locally keeps money in your community. It promotes jobs in it and allows for a more stable local economy.There is no middleman, your money goes straight to the farmer them self.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Explore more options, like local arts, crafts, artisans, and baked goods. Get to know a good grass-fed farmer or farm raised eggs. Shop for soaps or kombucha or kimchi or handbags or scarves.The more options depending on where you live and the size of your market.
  • It’s something the whole family can do together
  • Budget friendly. I spend hardly anything in groceries by stocking up while I’m there on Saturday’s. Plus I know all the benefits in my head. Maybe we’ll do another grass-fed piece, but I think quality is the most important thing for our future health. Instead of focusing on cutting costs now, think of what it could cost you further down the road in health care

10407871_10100616160207273_3554499190896500443_nNow that you’ve decided to give it a go (at least go and walk about), how do you start? The first step to anything is to show up. Search localharvest.org to find a farmer’s market near you. Find out when they’re open and times. GO! There is nothing like rows of tents on a Saturday market. These are all some shots of our local Terre Haute Farmer’s Market.

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