A few months ago my family moved a whole 30 miles south of where we had initially settled in New Jersey. It’s closer to work for me, and close to office friends who also live in the area and have children of all ages. Not only will this give my daughter some friends outside of daycare, but we also now have a regular babysitter in my boss’s daughter!
One day as I was exploring our new area I saw a sign on the side of the road: Farmers Market, Saturdays 9am-1pm. Rejoice! I love farmers markets, and came to love them more when may daughter started eating solid foods. This happened right at the height of farmers market season so every couple of weeks I was at the local market, picking up fruits and veggies to take home, steam, puree and stick in the freezer. It was great to introduce her to fantastic peaches, blueberries, squash and green beans that came straight from regional farms.
So this past weekend I checked out the market. While it’s still early in the season I just wanted to get a “flavor” of what vendors were there and what the community was like. We got there early enough to get a parking space but late enough that there was a good-sized crowd wandering around. Not only did you have produce, but baked goods were sold in a couple of stalls, a crepe stand had the longest line, and a band was setting up. I walked past, and ended up stopping, at a barbeque sauce company owned by a brother and sister pair. Always wanting support local business–and particularly Black-owned–I walked away with sauce and a dry rub, vowing to return for the honey mustard in the coming weeks. Another vendor had asparagus, which I love roasted (check out Calandra’s post on oven-roasted asparagus) and I even picked up chicken sausage made with basil and sun-dried tomatoes. The next day we had grilled chicken breasts made with the dry rub and basted with the barbeque sauce…and of course roasted asparagus! Can’t wait for the peaches and blueberries to come in…cobbler, anyone?
Farmers markets are not only a great way to purchase fresh produce, they’re also a way to start to learn about your community, mingle with neighbors, and possibly even make new friends. Check out the USDA directory for a market near you!