I’ve always had an interest in where my food comes from, and I think it comes from having a garden my whole life! Everywhere we lived when I was a kid, my parents put in a garden even if it was just a small patch. Once you’ve had fresh garden produce, it’s hard to go back – nothing tastes as good as a vine ripe tomato still warm from the sun!
However, not everyone has the time, space, or desire to grow enough vegetables to put on the table – that’s where local organic farms come in! Garden abundance is available at your local farmer’s market, and in our area the prices are better at market than for organic produce in the grocery stores – you can’t beat that!
Most farms offer what called a CSA share which stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The long and short of it is you’re supporting the farmers directly. Each week you pick up your box of seasonal produce at farmer’s market, and create your weeks menu around the season’s abundance. I also like to scout around for vendors that grow specialty items – one vendor comes from a couple hours away to sell melons late in the summer, (we can’t grow melons very well here) and they’re by far the best melons I’ve ever had!
I went out to one of our local farms to see how it all comes together, from the farm all the way to the market, and on to the table! I’ve been buying produce from Two Bear Farm for a few years now because their produce tastes incredible, (and we haven’t grown much of a garden with the whole living in Canada and the US while immigrating thing)! I loved seeing how just a few people grow enough food for hundreds!
Another great thing about getting to know your farmer is they’re a wealth of information! So, you’re not sure what to do with that weird looking vegetable you’ve never seen before? Usually they’ll have at least 1 suggestion about what to do with it when you get home! I left Farmer’s Market with 2 suggestions last week – a sauce made from roasted garlic and eggplant, and Pad Thai made with zucchini noodles (sounds amazing right?)! So don’t be shy, pick up that bunch of greens you can’t identify and soldier forward! I love making eggplant parmesan with farm fresh eggplants every summer, but I never in a million years would have thought about making a creamy sauce out of it – so thanks to my local farmer!
My favorite small tomatoes are Sungolds (and orange colored cherry tomato), and they had an entire greenhouse full – there is nothing like a locally grown truly ripe tomato! If you want to eat healthier, there’s nothing more inspiring than fresh produce – there is absolutely no comparison in flavor. Once you try super fresh local food, you’ll see the taste difference, and it makes it easier to eat healthy! Quality fresh produce from a local farmer is so good, you don’t need to do much in the way of preparation – it makes dinner so much easier when your food tastes good all by itself!
So many options to choose from – there’s nothing like Farmer’s Market to get you inspired about vegetables! I usually get a little crazy and buy a bit of everything in sight! Usually, I can barely lug my purchases back to the car, (20 pounds of melon will do you in every time)!
This is what a CSA box looks like in August – isn’t the height of summer great? Salad mix, sweet corn, green beans, sweet peppers, carrots, summer squash, sweet onions, tomatoes, eggplant, and basil!
By supporting your local farmer, you’re supporting local small business agriculture, and in turn you’re feeding yourself healthy nutritiously dense food! A Couple Cooks recently wrote an article about urban farming that you might find interesting as well! It’s an interview with their local Farmer – Q & A Why Urban Farming? I love seeing all kinds of local, sustainable farms popping up across the country!