My favorite way to celebrate the embarrassment of riches that is California’s seasonal produce is to take a trip to our local farmer’s market. It is a weekly ritual that we enjoy as one of life’s simple pleasures; the outing provides social opportunities to interact with my neighbors, and it is also much more fun than just an ordinary grocery shopping chore.
The explosion of colors of the myriad fruits and vegetables on display turns our shopping excursion into a celebration of the season. Mounds of perfect, temptingly plump vegetables at their peak fill the grower’s stands and our shopping bags as we greedily overfill them; we can’t help ourselves.
Lovely summer flowers (food for the soul) of many types are a popular item and are sold by several vendors, including bulbs for fall planting.
Our farmer’s market is a much valued weekly community event. Besides offering the freshest produce available, many other foods are sold by local producers: fresh eggs, honey, live plants, tofu, artisanal breads, and more.
The market also provides employment for local teens and is a social opportunity to chat with neighbors and friends while shopping for the week’s meals. We also enjoy seeing and building relationships with our favorite vendors year after year, each with their seasonal specialties and stories to tell.
Getting to know the growers and learning about their farms helps to foster an appreciation for our food, as well as growing personal connections with the people who labor to provide it for us. The local farmers highly value our patronage and support, and we are very thankful for their hard work and dedication.
We are fortunate that our farmer’s market is open all year round, rain or shine, but summer is the most popular season. That’s unfortunate because for the rest of the year there are different kinds of produce to enjoy all the more in their peak season: winter squashes, cabbages, spinach, chard, apples, and many kinds of citrus fruit.
If you haven’t already, why not make your weekly shopping trip a time to celebrate the gifts of the season by visiting your local farmer’s market? Perhaps you’ll end up slowing down and nourishing both your mind and body. You’ll also be helping our local farmers and producers to stay in business so we will continue to have the opportunity to buy more delicious local organic fresh food in the future.
There is so much to gain from this simple lifestyle choice!
Photos: Urban Artichoke