By: Sammy Harris
Last time, in my ~Quarantine Sanity~ piece I wrote about journaling and how it’s a (healthy) coping mechanism that has helped me so much during the past. The other component of my MIND FOOD ‘column’ this year is all about maximizing your grocery haul in order to minimize food waste. Do you know what one of the best ways to do that is?! Grocery shopping at farmers markets.
I grew up going to the local farmers market in my neighborhood (Glen Ellyn, Illinois) every Sunday with my mom and sister, so I have always had a strong appreciation for the experience and atmosphere of farmers markets. From one city to the next, each farmers market is so distinct and unique. For example, when my family travels to Sanibel Island, Florida, the local fruits and vegetables there are very different from what’s at Glen Ellyn’s at that time. Oxford, Ohio has a fabulous farmers market every Saturday morning: the flowers, hummus and hot-and-ready breakfast sandwiches are must-haves!
If I haven’t gotten you convinced yet on shopping at your local farmers mMarket, here are 5 more reasons why I love to shop for all things produce, baked goods and homemade jewelry:
Freshest food around
The produce is grown until it are perfectly ripe because they just have to go a short distance from the farm to the market. Locally grown is often correlated with more protein, vitamins, and minerals than the produce at your local grocery store.
Shopping organic = improved nutrition
The produce available is often from vendors that take pride in organic products, which are pesticide-free and minimally processed. This is extremely different than the average purchase at the grocery stores where produce is grown with hormones, pesticides, etc.. I actually love engaging with the vendors when making my purchases because they value sustainability and taking extensive steps to providing their customers (us!) with the most nutritious, healthy food possible.
You know exactly where your food is from & it’s local
Vendors are always fairly local to the location of the market- sometimes even right down the street! Therefore, you are able to know more about your food than anywhere else; if you want to know even more. you have the opportunity to ask the farmers themselves, the real experts!
Enjoy and optimize the season
The food available at a farmers market always parallels the current season in order to provide the freshest, highest quality food. I don’t know about you guys but I love seasonal specific activities, seasonal specific food, everything; so, going to the farmers market definitely allows me to connect with the distinct transitions and qualities from season-to-season.
Support the local & small!
While I always have loved to explore local businesses, now more than ever, I am trying to make an explicit effort to support the small businesses in the area struggling to survive during the pandemic. We are definitely able to strengthen the local economy by going to the farmers market because we get to pay the businesses directly!
Now that I definitely have gotten you convinced about farmers markets at this point, I want to share my recent experience at one in The Highlands area of Louisville, Kentucky. My mom and I went to visit my sister, so it only seemed fitting to hit up a new farmers market on Saturday morning. It was a fairly small one around a cul de sac, but it was so refreshing to go from stand-to-stand and connect with the vendors and farmers about their journeys, their products and just everyday life! In fact, I think we just about bought something from every vendor there.
While I gave my mom a hard time about how much we walked away with, it ended up definitely being worth it! On Sunday, we cooked a brunch spread featuring baby ganoush, hummus, whole grain everything bagels, local cheeses (ie. Derby Cheddar), pull apart sweet potato bread, organic kale/peppers/carrots/tomatoes, & an AMAZING veggie goat cheese frittata – Yes, all from the farmers market! Then on the following day, I made a simple but delicious lunch using some leftovers from brunch- organic peppers/tomatoes/kale and hummus- and putting it all in a warm pita bread making for a delicious Mediterranean wrap!
Please feel free to reach out to me (via my Instagram) and/or GreenHawks Media with any suggestions, requests, questions, etc.. I cannot wait to keep sharing my love for intentional cooking/eating, in addition to tips & tricks for our mental health during the current insanity!
All photos courtesy of Sammy Harris