So, it’s Saturday morning and before my eyes even open, what’s the first thought that pops into my head?? “I should go to the farmer’s market today!” Why? Because I LOVE farmer’s markets, all farmer’s markets no matter how large or small. The display of fresh in-season produce, beautifully deformed by mother nature, is to me what candy is to a small child. My eyes get wide with excitement as I walk down the line of in-season produce, some that I am familiar with, some that I am not. As a household of one, I usually buy only a few things here and there, unless I am planning to make a fun recipe of sorts like a stew or soup chock-full of vegetables. Otherwise, I go purely for the eye-candy. The in-season eye-candy that is.
I will say that I am a lucky gal living in San Francisco, a small bubble of fresh produce year round. We have a plethora of farmer’s markets in the city alone but definitely have easy access to wonderful markets in cities nearby, including the downtown Berkeley farmer’s market that my boyfriend previously lived 2 short blocks from. (If you’ve never been…you should go…next Saturday). The market I like to frequent is the SF Ferry Building’s farmer’s markets that have their usual extra large market on Saturdays 8-2, and two smaller markets on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10-2. Here is their website:
Ferry Building Farmers Market
If you’re interested in finding markets close to you, here is a great website that is worth checking out:
Whenever I am shopping at the farmer’s market, I seem to always find myself thinking about how the prices compare to those found in a supermarket. One of the biggest debates about shopping local and in-season is that people claim that farmer’s markets and all-natural food markets are more expensive. While I can’t say those people are right or wrong, what I can say is that there’s nothing better than fresh produce. Hands down. On appearance alone, in-season tomatoes are much more appealing than the orange-ish tomatoes one finds at the supermarket. (Something I witnessed today actually while running into Safeway for a few things).
After I got home, I found an interesting article that I would like to share with you all. This article gives some great pointers about how to shop smarter at the farmer’s markets.
I am aware that there are many of those that do not have access to farmer’s markets in their cities, and for those, I am sad, because I feel that it should be available in every city (no, I do not live in la-la land, I am very aware of food deserts and the fact that I live in a bubble here in SF).
Nonetheless, I feel that grocery stores are starting to put the focus more and more on in-season produce within the market, which I feel is a truly great step in the right direction. These are not the items that live in the organic section, this is not what I am advocating. Rather, some supermarket chains are beginning to highlight the origins of produce as well as their seasonality, this is something I have noticed in my local Safeway. If we could learn to adjust our diets according to the seasons, we would all be much better off, in an ideal world. In-season produce is cheaper, fresher and more nutritious, and if you can freeze it for winter months, it’s a win win. For now though, let’s just take baby steps in becoming more aware of seasonal produce and what it has to offer and adjust accordingly…