One of my favorite memories from childhood is of going to the farmers market in my town on Sundays. My mom and I would head into town, grab some fresh cider and a pastry, and browse the vendors. Inevitably, in a town as small as mine, we would run into lots of people we knew, so it was a combination social outing/grocery shopping trip. I loved going back week after week and seeing the produce change with the seasons.
One of my favorite stands was that of a local farmer who grew wildflowers and brought homemade wildflower wreaths to market in the fall. One year for my birthday, we bought tons of wildflowers, and all of my friends and I made dried wildflower wreaths. They were beautiful additions to our front doors, greeting visitors until it was time for winter wreaths.
This weekend, I went to Maryland to visit one of my best friends from school. She lives on a 70-acre orchard and goes to market in D.C. and Baltimore every weekend. It was incredible to experience life on an orchard. Their vast land is covered with every kind of fruit tree and bush imaginable.
We stepped into their cooler (which is the size of my house) only to see crates and crates of apples left over from the fall. For every meal we would head out to the garden, greenhouse, cooler or fields to pick fresh fruit and vegetables. My food has never tasted fresher.
In fact, this is the friend who turned me on to a farmers market near our college. We started going every Wednesday afternoon and making fresh meals for our friends.
Seriously. You should take advantage of the farmers markets near you. Your meals will be infinitely better because there is nothing like the flavor of fresh fruits and vegetables. The taste of a local apple is so different from the taste of an imported one; you would think they’re different foods entirely. Plus, buying local saves so much money and energy on refrigeration and shipping – it's much more environmentally friendly.
Do yourself and your local farmers a favor and start buying local.