Tools, Riffs & References - Farmers Market Finds
In Season, Local, Farm to Table, all monikers that when attached food, make us feel extra good about what we are purchasing and or eating.
My journey with all of this goes through every phase of consumerism we know. From eating extruder produced deli products on pre-sliced white bread fortified to replace what was depleted during the manufacturing process, to produce from my families vegetable garden, to fresh strawberries from my Nana’s patch, to pre-package just add water delights and frozen ensembles of convenience with a warm apple thingy that you lived for in the center, to oh my GOD we have to clean out our system macrobiotic eating, vegetarianism, pescatarian-ism and onward...arriving at my current mode which is...
Buy, prepare and eat, the best food that you can for where and how you live. The more seasonal and local, the better.
PSA. In much of the United States as well as here in Charlotte, fresh food more specifically produce, is widely available for those that have access to get to it. I use the word access to emphasize...food deserts are real and exists all around us including here in the Queen City, which boggles the mind given our agricultural standing and the number of farmers markets in the area, but truth it is. A shout out to all those who are working on addressing this. It isn’t an easy problem to solve as, along with the challenge of bringing fresh produce into food deserts, layer on the challenge of bringing fresh produce that’s familiar and or comes with information about how to prepare what may not be familiar, in manner that would appeal to its recipients....which is not always an option for various reasons. Another BLOG for another time. PSA complete.
In my quest for all that is fresh, seasonal and local, I frequent a few farmers markets. My favorite thus far is the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market, one of four owned by the State of North Carolina. In the time before, on weekends, 3 huge buildings and 2 incredible large covered open air areas, one of which is dedicated to “Got To Be NC” meaning all items sold in that area are from North Carolina, were full of folks discovering, revisiting and buying all kinds of fare including fresh flowers, kombucha, and perhaps wares of one of many cooked food vendors via a food truck or stall. Today, not as many buildings are open but Im always able to fill my fishnet market bag with seasonal good-good that turns into some even better good-good HereInMyKitchen.
A recent trip this Spring enabled me to gather the key ingredients for my lemon & vinegar dressed slaw. Purple cabbage with its come hither leaves waving me over, beautiful orange carrots that I knew would deliver a hint of sweetness with each bite, mint, not just for a muddle cocktail or two, but rough chopped along with cilantro, adds herbaceous-ness that you only get from fresh leaves.
On other visits to the market during the year I score whats available seasonally. Beautiful eggplants in varying varieties for a couple of different dishes I do, heirloom tomatoes that lead to an amazing thick and hearty red sauce, berrys, apples, stone fruit (can you say pie or galette), gorgeous squash, some smooth, some pebbly or striped, greens, corn, mushrooms, herbs out the wazoo. You get it! Many times I have walked out with a week’s worth of produce for less than $10.00. Now on occasion I may pick up some non-produce items cause...Im prone to a little recreational food shopping every now and then, but for the most part, Im walking out with all that I need for meal prep for the week.
An intangible find at the farmers market is the joy, that just being there, brings to the soul. Knowing Im in the mix with others who vibe fresh food, who are trying to support local vendors and farmers while we point, select, fill our bags, listen and laugh at stories being told or a food experience being shared. Old mothers with their baskets in tow walk amongst the crowd, the diversity in shoppers pluck the imagination as to what dishes will be prepared from their selected items. Small children hold a parents had in one of theirs and a sweet treat in another. Chefs, cooks, families, meander amongst the colorful offerings and in a moment,are part of a meaningful intention and movement to use what comes from the earth to nourish our body, minds and spirit.
I don’t have a real ending for this BLOG as Farmers Market Finds are a part of my everyday existence. I may not runout of the house on a rainy day for protein, but I will for produce, as eating fruits and vegetable daily is just how I live. When it can be seasonal and local, its even better and makes my foodie soul smile.
So if and when you can, seek, find and buy from that road side stand, that co-op, that Farmers Market and geek out, roll around in, shout from the stove top, about all that is good and nourishing in your foodie finds.