No Farms, No Food

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No matter where I’ve gone in the country or the world, there’s always one thing I can count on: there will be old people, Amish folks, and hippies running farmer’s markets. In recent days the market audience and salespeople has evolved and grown, but those three groups are a constant.

You may mock them, but they’ve got it right! Farmer’s Markets are a magical place where you can find anything! From the most bizarre fruit to the most delicious babka. Even if you’re not old, Amish, or a hippie, you should be taking full advantage of the local eats. Still skeptical? I have a list of reasons that just may convince you!

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Fresh Food. Your supermarket fruits and veggies have been stored and shipped and sitting around for days! Aside from the beating its gotten during transport, it’s just plain old. Old fruit is sad fruit. At any respectable farmer’s market, that apple you’re eyeing was probably picked straight from the branch that week, if not that very same day! No amount of wax can cover up the dusty oldness of your precious sustenance.

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Woman in Portugal prepares a sandwich with olives

Organic and non-GMO. Please don’t take me for the type who is hung up on GMOs and toxins and the government trying to poison us. I really don’t mind some cyanide in my breakfast. Still, I suppose it doesn’t hurt to be a little aware of what’s going into your body. Most farmer’s markets stalls will let you know what has pesticides and what is pure… if you’re into that kind of thing. Though, you can usually tell which is which based on the bugs crawling around your produce. I kid! Most of the bug bits are disposed of before they even get in your hand. What’s a worm poop or two, though? What harm is a dismembered spider leg, anyway? Stop being so high maintenance. It’s good for you!

Point is, when you go to the farmer’s market, you will know everything that has been in, on, or over your food. Even the things you really didn’t want to know. No more wax on your fruit! Wax on? More like, wax OFF!

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Spices in India

Real food. Speaking of waxing fruit, have you ever smelled a fresh tomato? Without it being pumped up with water and chemicals, have you sniffed one? Have you touched a tomato plant and smelled your hands? That Earthy smell that makes you feel like you just gave Mother Nature a hug? That smell is of what dreams are made. I love that smell. Supermarket food has never even been in the same room as Mother Nature!

It’s not just the fruit and veggies, though. Let us not ignore the baked goods and candy and flowers! Recently, after passing through my local farmer’s market I realized my favourite smell in the world is fresh pretzels. I had no idea!
Mm, mm!

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Delicious olive in Paris, France
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Some dessert in Liverpool

 

Non-industrial. Real talk- I don’t know much about food production. But come on, do you? Do you know what big boss is doing with your food before it reaches you? Knowing how these things go, I’m gonna guess lots of bad stuff.

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Chocolates in Spain

According to one news source, this is the reality:
“For the sake of efficiency, industrial farming favors monocultures, where a single field only grows one type of fruits or vegetables. Monocultures sap the soil of essential nutrients, leaving it barren and un-plantable. Likewise, they are more susceptible to disease and pests. In general, industrial farming (both conventional and organic) is hard on the land, depletes the soil of nutrients, uses industrial chemical fertilizers and/or pesticides, and utilizes environmentally unfriendly practices that are not sustainable over the long-term.” (huffingtonpost.com)

I believe it. Besides, that all aside, wouldn’t you rather support your local farmers and bakers than some huge business?

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DIY maple syrup on a stick Montreal, Canada

Variety. Ever wonder why supermarkets are so huge when most people just want the same items? The stuff that tastes good, but isn’t too good. The better stuff is usually more expensive. Maybe that’s just me; I’m cheap and choose money over quality. Maybe this doesn’t apply to everybody. However, what if you could get some really neat stuff for a decent price in less time and space? Ah, now we’re talking!

Farmer’s marketers don’t have the money to waste on wasting your time. If they don’t offer the goods at competitive prices, they won’t survive long. Therefore, they typically give you good quality items for the best prices they can survive on. Yes, they may have to charge a touch more than the stores, but they offer more! Weird and tasty concoctions belong in a farmer’s market just as much as the reliable brownies that you love.

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Jersey City Market
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An indoor market in Knoxville, TN

Support your locals. This may sound like the mantra of the old hippies I mentioned earlier, but why not give back to your community? Most farmer’s markets’ produce come from within a 100 mile radius. Whether they’re individuals or farmers, they are practically your neighbours! Unfortunately, due to the popularity of supermarkets, these folks’ businesses are suffering. For a couple extra bucks and an open mind, you can help them thrive!

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Flowers in Union Square, NYC

Friendliness and sociability.  If nothing else I’ve written here has you convinced still, I offer this final attempt. Maybe you hate nutrition and the Earth and everything else, but how about just running into friends or making new ones? Do you like that? Farmer’s markets are a community-run kind of thing. Even if the sellers are just manipulating you, they’re gonna be nice. They’ll answer your questions and give you storage and cooking tips. They may have recipes for you to try or recommendations. Sometimes there are classes or lectures, art, music, demonstrations…. There’s a lot going on! Bring the kids or your pet, there’s something for everyone to see, do, learn, or experience.

Whatever you end up doing at the farmer’s market, it’s going to be a lot more interesting than your supermarket!

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Some sweet tunes in Dublin, Ireland
 Besides, you might come across a gem like this:
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In the meantime, get satisfied!

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