It’s farmer’s market season again (doing a happy dance).
There is a lot of agricultural land in and around my city. As a result, we have many farmers’ markets. Some are large, some are small. Most of them are held once a week, but one of them is a daily market. Each market is different. Each one has its own character.
Yesterday I went out to one of the larger markets. It was my first visit of the season. It’s quite early in the season here, so there isn’t much fresh produce available. I was hoping for some rhubarb. We had a nice rhubarb patch in the back garden when I was growing up. I enjoyed lazy days in early summer, sitting out on the deck in the sun, dipping a freshly picked rhubarb stalk in sugar. I love the face-puckering tartness of it.
I really enjoy farmer’s markets. I like walking around; checking out each booth, seeing what is available. Each trip is different.
This early in the season, the atmosphere is a bit different than it will be later. It’s not about people going to buy supplies for that night’s dinner. It’s a bit more of a social occasion, like going out to see old friends you haven’t seen in a while.
I wasn’t too sure what I might find yesterday. It was a bit of a scoping exercise, seeing which producers will be at that market this year. As usual, the variety was impressive. In addition to many stands that will be selling fresh vegetables and some fruit each week, there are some selling meat, including game meats such as bison and elk. There are also several selling value-added products such as jams, jellies and sauces, and a variety of baked goods. There was even a chef doing a cooking demonstration.
I like shopping at famer’s markets. They are a great way to get the freshest produce possible, as it comes into season. I enjoy what I buy there, and I also feel good about the fact that I am helping to support local farmers. Without farmers we have no food. Many of the farmers that sell at markets are relatively small suppliers, but they grow a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. It’s not easy maintaining a farming business in Canada, and I am glad to be able to support local farmers by purchasing products directly from them.
Even though it is early in the season, yesterday’s trip was a successful one.
I found the rhubarb I wanted. Only one vendor had some, as it truly is early for rhubarb here. I have plans for that rhubarb. Hopefully I will have some recipes to share soon.
I was hoping to find some greens and I did with a nice big bag of spinach. The cranberries were an exciting find. I bought some frozen ones as well as some dried ones. The dried cranberries have no sugar added. This is a first for me, as the dried cranberries found in stores all have added sugar. I haven’t tasted them yet. Hopefully I’ll like them.
In addition to the “to eat now” food, I also found some greens to plant in my garden. I picked up some spinach, romaine lettuce and red leaf lettuce. These plants were grown locally, and are varieties that do well in our climate.
My last item is a bar of soap. I love handmade soap. I’ve been using it for years. It’s not always easy to find locally, and when I do, it’s not always in scents that I like. I do not enjoy floral scents and they tend to trigger migraines for me. I like food scents for my soap. I found some yesterday, which made me happy. I was out, and had been thinking about placing an order on Etsy. I love using handmade soap. I find it much gentler on my skin than commercial soaps. Handmade soap is worth the splurge to me. Handmade soap is just one more item that can be found at a farmer’s market. The variety found there really can be surprising at times.
Have you been to a farmer’s market lately? What was your best find?