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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Farmer's Markets

I absolutely love this time of year. Yes, the flowers are beautiful and the days are longer and the sun is shining but that is not the only reason I love this time of year. I love farmer's markets. There is no other feeling in the world than walking through one. The smells, the texture of the foods, the people. It is a wonderful thing to be part of. There are many benefits to shopping at a local farmers market. The meat is usually grass fed, antibiotic free and hormone free. If you have never tried grass fed beef, or grass fed dairy you are missing out on one of life's treasures, my friend. I cannot even begin to describe how delectable the taste is. You also know where the beef is from which is important to me.

Picture from North Union Farmers Market. Link below
 Another benefit is the taste of local grown produce. I refuse to buy strawberries from the grocery store anymore. Too often I have been tempted to buy strawberries from California that look good and smell good. Until I get them home and they either have no taste or they are sour. Sigh. Very disappointing. So now I wait until late spring (oh hurry up!!!) for the arrival of strawberries from local farms. The difference is divine. They are juicy and sweet and they last maybe one day in our house! There is a small stand down the road from us that sells produce from a local farm and the kids and I are always stopping by to stock up on their luscious strawberries. MMMMmmmmmm. My mouth is watering just thinking about them. There really is a big difference in taste. Trust me and go try some yourself.

 Strawberries are not the only produce either. Peaches were spectacular last year. I ate so many peaches I ALMOST got peached out. We are talking about peaches so juicy you bite into it and the juices run down your chin. Sweet, sweet peaches. Mmmmm. Just don't let your kids rub the peaches on their face. My son found out the hard way that he is allergic to peach fuzz ;)

 You can also spot some eclectic foodies selling some things that are hard to find at the grocery store. Specialty mushrooms, dandelion leaves, local honey and more. Oh, I cannot forget to mention the granola. My cousin sells homemade granola at the farmers market. My daughter cannot get enough, I swear she puts bits of something in there to make her customers addicted so they have to keep coming back to buy more. I have tried to make my own granola but it is never as good as Cindy's. Guess another trip is in order this Saturday!!
Another thing I love is that by shopping at the market you are helping to support your local farms which is a huge bonus. Here are a couple of websites that list just some of the ones in the area: http://www.kammscorners.com/farmersmarket.html, http://www.northunionfarmersmarket.org/.

 If you are too busy to make it to the farmers market you might want to try a CSA. Basically you pay into a farm share and the farm delivers produce, eggs or meat every week to a determined spot. The farmer gets paid regardless of how the crops do which help them and you get some farm fresh food every week for a smaller price. Check out: http://www.cleveland.com/datacentral/index.ssf/2010/05/csa_farm_directory_for_northea.html for a list of local farms in the area.

I hope I have inspired you to try some of the bountiful food. If not, more for me and my kids:) Hope to see some of you at the market!

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