Home > Great Big Greenhouse Blog > August 2017 > BONNIE'S GARDEN--National Farmers Market Week

BONNIE'S GARDEN--National Farmers Market Week

“…to further awareness of farmers markets’ contribution to American life, I, Sonny Perdue, Secretary of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, do hereby proclaim the week of August 6-12, 2017, as National Farmers Market Week.  I call upon the American people to celebrate farmers markets with appropriate observances and activities.”

Did you know that Farmers Markets and other agricultural direct marketing outlets, like farmstands, contribute about $9 billion a year to our economy?  The best thing about it is that a vast majority of that money actually stays IN our community, rather than going out of state—or even out of the country!

But for me, Farmers Markets are more than that.  There’s the sense of community, of getting to know the vendors and the regular shoppers.  The produce guy at the grocery store doesn’t know where the cantaloupes came from or how they were grown.  But the farmers at the market do—they know where and how they were grown, even when they were picked—and how to help you select the best one.  They’ll share their favorite recipe for zucchini or eggplant or anything else.

I know that the food I buy at a farmers market was picked yesterday at the earliest—not last week or longer.  I know that it wasn’t irradiated or waxed.  I know I get the best nutritional value because produce loses nutrients as it ages in transit and it tastes better because it is picked at peak flavor and ripeness, rather than picked early to ripen during shipping.

I know that it came to market from an hour away.  Did you know that, on average, most of our food travels an average of 1500 miles to get to our plates?  This uses lots of fossil fuels as well as all the plastic that goes into extra packaging.  But not if you buy local.

When I buy beef from our beef vendor, I know that the cows were humanely raised in a pasture, not a wooden box.  And I know that it is antibiotic/hormone-free.  I like buying the antibiotic/hormone-free eggs from truly free-ranged chickens. 

And I love the great selection.  You don’t often find donut peaches or white nectarines, yellow watermelons, fresh garlic scapes, black raspberries, or fresh (not frozen) shelled butterbeans in the grocery store.

How about the one-of-a-kind hand crafts?  They weren’t made on an assembly line in China, they were made locally with a local resident’s own creative efforts. 

I like to grow my own vegetables but I don’t have the space to grow everything I’d like, so what I don’t grow, I buy at our Farmers Market, because I know it’s fresh and delicious.  Whatever your reasons for shopping local, you can’t go wrong.  Our Farmers Market runs year-round, every Thursday from 10 until 2, but if you can’t get here, look for one closest to you.  You can go to virginiagrown.com to find one.
 
Posted: 8/8/2017 by Bonnie Pega | with 0 comment(s)
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