Food Fresh from the Farm
Supermarkets have become strangely fantastical places where fruits and vegetables are always in season and always available. Unfortunately, the fruits and vegetables are rarely truly fresh and the varieties have become very uniform across the nation. Of course, fruits can't be picked when they're fully ripe if they must be shipped hundreds or thousands of miles. Many heirloom vegetables, especially tomatoes, don't ship well at all, so the supermarkets only stock the types that can withstand early picking and long-distance trucking. Where does that leave someone who wants to eat local, organically raised, seasonal foods? Shop at a local Farmer's Market!
New Mexico has at least 31 Farmer's Markets across the state. That doesn't include Community Supported Agriculture clubs, Roadside produce stands, Co-ops and grocers who carry local fruits and vegetables. If you are looking for a Farmer's Market where you live, check out http://www.localharvest.org/.
A Saturday trip to the Santa Fe Farmer's Market is a great alternative to spending the morning watching cartoons and eating Cap'n Crunch. Vendors set up early and the market opens at 7am. Farmers sell everything from fresh produce to eggs, cheeses and meats. Other stalls sell local honey, live herbs and plants to put in your own garden, breads and baked goods, and a wide assortment of hand-made goods. If you left the house without eating breakfast don't worry, you'll have a choice of pastries, breakfast burritos, hot coffee and whatever else your hungry stomach desires.
I think that half the fun of a Farmer's Market is that you can actually chat with the folks who grew your food. If you have a question about what the chickens are fed or how to grow a better tomatoe - the expert is standing right in front of you. I know that it can be tough to get a question in when there is a line forming behind you, so stand to the side and you'll get an answer soon enough. Farmer's Markets are also a great way to meet new people and a chance to chat with old friends. So plan a little extra time when you go shopping as it will be well spent learning about your food and the people who grew it.
Click Here for more photos from the Santa Fe Farmer's Market.
Use LocalHarvest.org to find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area.
Santa Fe Farmer's Market
National Farmers Market Week - August 5-11,2007