Farmers’ markets are back!! A sign of summer approaching is the opening of outdoor farmers’ markets. Farmers’ markets are a terrific source of fresh, seasonal, and locally grown foods. The good news is they are making a comeback and are cropping up in more and more places. Some markets are as simple as a small roadside stand; others are open-air markets and then some are in buildings that offer items all year round. Markets can vary greatly from those that offer more common foods while others offer organic or exotic and unusual varieties of foods (great for foodies).
Generally farmers’ markets offer fresh produce and jams, but most have expanded. You may find eggs, cheese, breads, possibly meats and ready-made foods.
Why I like farmers’ markets so much is the freshness of the food, getting advice and their visual appeal. Usually you find much fresher and more flavorful food at the farmers’ markets. Yesterday, I bought red leaf lettuce just picked the day before; now that is fresh, and the leaves are both tender and crisp. I have also been enjoying some outstanding Pink Lady apples. The best part though of the market is getting advice, so ask questions. When I buy a cantaloupe for example, I will usually let them select for me and I will let them know whether I want it for tonight or two days from now. Also I like the variety; you may find a couple of different kinds of plums or two or three kinds of eggplant, etc. Ask about the differences; some plums are sweet and some are sour, for example, and eggplant can be found with white skin that is milder than the deep purple globe variety. You can save money, most markets have ”seconds” they maybe very ripe or slightly bruised produce, so use that day or the next.
When traveling what better way to glimpse some local culture and food than to wander around a market. If you travel this summer, check-out local markets even if it just a roadside stand near the beach or a big market in the middle of an urban city. Eastern Market near the Capitol in Washington, DC is a favorite of both locals and tourists.
Last summer I was in Finland. The weather had been nice all day and we were able to see some lovely sights. At lunch our dessert included some of the best tasting, sweet, gorgeous berries. That afternoon as we visited the outdoor market in downtown Helsinki it started pouring down rain and we had no umbrellas. We rushed from one stall to the next trying to take cover in the rain. Anyway, on the vendors’ stands were mounds of the fragrant, sweet and delicious berries. Even in the rain we had fun!
Where is your favorite market?