You probably have a farmers’ market near your neighborhood. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there are 6,132 operating farmers markets in the nation (USDA stats August 4, 2010), which is a 16% increase over last year.
In some major metropolitan areas, one can visit a farmers’ market every day of the week. How’s that for getting fresh-from-the-farm produce!
The majority of people who shop at farmers’ markets are interested in obtaining fresher, better quality produce grown locally. Some want a cheaper price or larger quantities. Others just enjoy the farmers’ market experience.
Yesterday, I visited a new farmers’ market in my town, and it was delightful. The food vendors are in the shade inside a parking structure away from the summer heat and elements. There was live music, a variety of fresh food booths, and some tantalizing picture-perfect fruits and vegetables that were very reasonably priced.
I bought the best seedless grapes of the season: crunchy and nearly raisin sweet. It was all I could do to not eat them while I continued to shop.
Farmers’ markets are a traditional way small farmers can sell directly to consumers, and this is a tradition practiced worldwide. With almost two million farms in the U.S. (80% of those are mostly family owned), I bet there are some outstanding farmers’ family recipes just waiting to be captured for others to enjoy.
Next time I go to the new farmers’ market in my town, I plan to mention a nice little project to the farmers’ market manager. A farmer’s market cookbook (made with Matilda’s Fantastic Cookbook Software) that can be used for fundraising to help offset costs of the market and help the farmers. It could be the start of something good.