It’s that time again here in my hometown! The farmers market is setting up for the summer at its outdoor location overlooking the Hudson River. There’s something special about buying stuff grown and made only a few hours away. It makes me feel connected to the earth. Good for the soul. And, the stomach too.
Through the winter, a scaled-down, indoor version of the market operates at the local community center. But these folks have been outside for the past week or two, getting warmed up for next Saturday’s official launch of the summer season.
Being there this morning reminded me of all the reasons I adore a good farmers market, especially this one…
Reason #1: Everything is super-fresh. We get the most incredible fish from a Long Island vendor. Absolutely delicious. The gala apples, stockpiled from last fall’s harvest, are luscious too. And who can resist pretty flowers?
Reason #2: Exploring new food concepts is invigorating. Never before have I seen a stick-shaped lettuce (the photo below, to your right). The farmer called it “noodle lettuce” and said these greens originally hail from Russia. I found the blades a bit bitter, like eating grass. But they’ll add depth and texture to my next salad. And look at the beautiful organic shallots and ginger — these are both kitchen staples for me.
Reason #3: Being outdoors reminds me to slow down and savor nature. Hastings-on-Hudson sits along the Hudson River, which starts in Lower Manhattan at the Statue of Liberty and travels 315 miles north through eastern New York state. Those of us along the waterfront are part of the Hudson Valley, which is becoming known for its artisanal products and farm-to-table lifestyle.
Reason #4: Small farmers and local entrepreneurs deserve support. Forget about the big food corporations selling processed crap. Entrepreneurs are the backbone of the American economy. Family farms work hard to survive. They’re the rock stars of the green movement. They’re brave too; I could never stake my livelihood on unpredictable weather. Could you?
Reason #5: Community building is home-y. For years, my summer Saturday routine has always started at the farmers market. I try to get there when it opens around 9 a.m., before the crowds. But mingling can be fun if you’re not in a hurry. Shoppers bring their babies, kids and dogs. The vendors chat when they’re not busy. (Btw, you’ll want to ask about their products — for instance, at least one vendor, to my dismay, sells eggs from caged hens.)
And now, a few links you might like:
- Check out my popular post about how to cook radish greens.
- The Hastings farmers market website has the latest news.
- Cornell Cooperative Extension helps farmers and has a fascinating website.
- HuffPo has a story about entrepreneurs and the boom in farmers markets.
- GrowNYC, which runs the Big Apple’s premiere Greenmarkets, is a great resource for going green, news, food resources and more. I can get lost for hours in the GrowNYC website.
- If you want a great book to read, check out FOOD, Inc. A classic.
Soooo, I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Enjoy the sun and fresh air — and hopefully, good food. xo.