Getting Fresh at the Farmers Market

fresh strawberries

To you, this may be just a bowl of strawberries. I also see strawberries, but these strawberries represent the beginning of the Farmers Market season, which started a few weekends ago in many areas. I love fresh fruit; strawberries, blueberries, just fruit! There is something special and deliciously flavorful about orange tomatoes and I am determined to fry some green ones this summer.

Most fresh produce is available year-around, but that is because a lot of out of season items are shipped from others countries and sold here, so we never really realize that fruits and vegetables have growing seasons. In my efforts to purchase from and support more local farmers (as well as U.S.A. grown), I have been paying more attention to the labels on produce and selecting items that are grown where I live or not too far from there. On shopping trips, it has been difficult walking past the plenty. I check the origin labels and if they are not local or U.S.A., I get the “pouty face,” and then return them to the display.

When I lived in California, this was not as difficult because the growing season for my area was almost year around due to the warmer climate. Shopping and supporting local was not that limiting and most produce I cooked with was available locally.

A couple of times, I have slipped and purchased a few bananas for a new banana bread recipe I was dying to try. I also chunked a few cups of assorted frozen fruit in some of the smoothies we have already enjoyed this spring, but of course this was in great anticipation of this momentous period. Now, all guilt aside, I am free to buy whatever I see at the Farmers Market. I will still read the labels as you should always do when buying any type of food.

If you have never had fresh berries and don’t believe you can tell the difference, then crop your sun hat, slip on a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and head out this weekend to your local Farmers Market. If they are not yet open in your area, then check for openings in May and June. Since it is early in the season, the pickings may be light, but go get a feel for what is and will be available this early spring and summer seasons. This is also a great opportunity to meet some of the people who are growing the fruits and vegetables that you will be serving at your table to your family and friends.

If produce doesn’t excite you, then how about some homemade jams, fresh baked pies, cheeses, grass fed meats, creative crafters, really, must I go on. There is something for everyone at your local Farmers Market.

Mommy Note: Call contact number for markets and confirm starting dates, times, and locations before attending. I called a few markets I was interested in shopping at and learned they were no longer operating or had moved locations.

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