Monday, August 30, 2010

Manic Monday Munchies: The Farmers' Market

Eggs from our Farmers' Market
Last Saturday morning, the Wacky Wicketeer and I finally checked out the nearest Farmers’ Market. It had recently moved from about eight miles away to only 2-3 miles away, so we had no excuse as to why we hadn’t been there yet (other than the fact my darling husband likes to sleep until
We were on the hunt for meat and dairy products mostly, because we already have weekly deliveries of local, organic, fruits and vegetables from Farm Fresh to You. Sure enough, we found local, organic, pasture-raised chicken, beef, eggs and cheese. The only things missing that I needed were milk and yogurt. However, I am planning a visit to the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, where I’ve heard I can find local milk and yogurt. We also happened to find some fresh, shelled, raw walnuts and pistachios, and a gorgeous hanging geranium plant for our backyard. It was a great time, with the ambience of people chatting and getting to know their food-providers, and even live music in the background.

Geranium from our Farmers' Market
So why go to the trouble? First of all, it’s really not much trouble. Even before we were trying to eat anything organic, much less organic and local, we would make trips to both Bel-Air and Costco every 1-2 weeks for groceries. Now, our produce is delivered to us, so about every two weeks, I’ll go to the Co-op for milk and yogurt, and the Wacky Wicketeer and I will have a Saturday morning date browsing the Farmers’ Market. But what if I need more food suddenly, for guests, or something? Then I just drive an extra five miles to the Davis Ranch stand in Sloughouse. Or, I take something out of the freezer, or make an extra trip to the Co-op. By the way, I’m no longer buying frozen food. Instead, I freeze some of what I get from the farms, for when it goes out of season, or if I happen to need extra. When you are eating local food, you actually observe its seasonality.

That brings up the second reason we are becoming sort of “locavores”. Food tastes so much better when it is in season, and appropriately ripened. What’s more, because it hasn’t had to travel thousands of miles, it didn’t  require genetic modification, or preservatives-leaving it in its pure state, as God and Mother Nature intended-naturally delicious (not to mention nutritious).

Local Wine
Our third reason is health. Our health and the health of our planet. The environmental savings when eating locally is obvious. It means your food didn’t have to use the petroleum required, and create the resulting
pollution, to travel from thousands of miles away. Moreover, we help to preserve biodiversity by not requiring our food to be genetically modified so that it can last longer. There is also an immediate benefit to our own bodies-we no longer have to strain our liver and kidneys, among other things, in digesting additives and preservatives. In addition, think about the recent recall of eggs due to salmonella poisoning-because I bought my eggs from a local farmer with a small flock (I even got to see pictures of the hens wandering around their pasture outside the barn), I wasn’t worried if my eggs were part of the recall. There is a lot more to this, but I’m not an expert on it (yet), and it would make this an even longer post.

The fourth reason is one that doesn’t occur to a lot of people. When you buy food grown and produced locally, you are doing a better job in supporting your local economy. A farm is a business, just like a restaurant or clothing shop is a business. Buying your goods from local businesses instead of national chains generates close to three times the money for the local economy. (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Kingsolver, p. 149.)

Coinciding (but maybe not so coincidental) with our foray into locavore life, I’ve been reading a related book, called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver. I highly suggest you read it, no matter where you live, whether urban or rural, and no matter whether you are a vegetarian or at the carnivore end of our omnivore spectrum. It gave me a new appreciation for our family farms and farmers and their struggles, and it’s important that we have our eyes wide open to what exactly it is that we put in our bodies every day. Moreover, find a farmers’ market nearby, and make it a date or family outing to check it out. You may be surprised at how close one is to you. Here are a couple of websites that may help:  (United States and some Canada) (California)

You can also find local co-ops that have a local store, permanent stand, or deliver direct to your home or business. Many of these farms often give tours. For example, Farm Fresh to You offers tours of their farm, Capay Organic, the second Saturday of the month. You can find similarevents and tours at

Of course, we still have our weaknesses that we don’t buy entirely locally: Feta cheese, chocolate, tea, and decaf coffee are big ones. And we’re still figuring out how to get bread made from locally-grown grains, among other things. But we love the changes we’ve made so far, and intend to do more to bring our family’s focus back to the garden and kitchen. This change to local eating has also come with a focus on cooking, and less pre-packaged, quick-foods. We are inspired by this quote from Ms. Kingsolver:

Households that have lost the soul of cooking from their routines may not know what they’re missing: the song of a stir-fry sizzle, the small talk of clinking measuring spoons, the yeasty scent of rising dough, the painting of flavors onto a pizza before it slides into the oven. The choreography of many people working in one kitchen is, by itself, a certain definition of family, after people have made their separate ways home to be together. The nurturing arts are more than just icing on the cake, insofar as they influence survival. We have dealt to today’s kids the statistical hand of a shorter life expectancy than their parents, which would be us, the ones taking care of them. Our thrown-away food culture is the sole reason. By taking the faster drive, what did we save?
(Animal, p. 130.)

Our reasons for eating locally-grown goods are many and complicated. But doing so is not. The act of local eating is simplicity at its best and yummiest.


  1. This is something I have been trying so hard to incorporate into my daily life too! It's so much harder in Alaska though... there really isn't much in the way of fresh produce in the winter time unfortunately. :(

    Oh, what I wouldn't do for a good farmers market!

  2. {Standing ovation!!!}

    So glad you found your way to the farmer's market! Maybe we'll see you one of these weekends. :)

  3. You have inspired me todo some research, get off my ass and find my local farmer's market! I must say, I found a local yogurt at Whole Foods and it is HANDS DOWN the best yogurt I've ever tasted. Like so good I never ever want to move from CO.

  4. Thanks, guys!

    Becca, that's awesome! I love finding little treasures like that. =)