If you have been reading my blog for awhile, you know how much Papa and I really enjoy the Saturday Farmer's Market. Granted, our weekly hauls haven't included a whole lot of "produce" due to the winter months but we try to go every week just the same and sample other things - local honey, locally made mustards, and dairy products.
Does it really make that much of a difference to go to the Farmer's Market rather than the conventional grocery stores? In my opinion, yes in a number of ways, it does make a difference...
I always thought that there wasn't much better than getting your fruits and veggies (whenever possible) straight from the source. And, actually trumping the Farmer's Market here are the "Pick Your Own" places! Nothing compares to perfectly ripe strawberries you pick yourself at the farm. If you have never tried a Pick Your Own place, you have no idea what you are missing! Go! As soon as possible - haha!
Second to this is a local Farmer's Market...Still straight from the source, just not picked by you! =)
The most recent thing I have discovered however, is that the quality is most definitely superior when it comes to things other than produce...Breads, Honey, Maple Syrups, and Milk. Oh the milk products! We are in love with the dairy lady at the market! We started getting yogurt from her a frew months ago and Papa loves it. Then we ventured into the milk and heavy cream...And NOW I am sold as well. The heavy cream makes for the most amazing whipped cream we have ever tasted! It is seriously heaven!
It's important for all of us to feel a sense of connection, of belonging to something bigger don't you think? Buying directly from farmers reminds us that we are all part of the inner workings of something bigger. People are meant to live (for the most part) cooperatively. It's a good reminder every week for us and is pretty uplifting to know we are helping this particular community thrive.
Buying as much as we can from Connecticut farms lessons our carbon footprint. We also can potentially lessen our exposure to pesticides.
The treatment of farming animals is equally important to my family. When I purchase beef, it helps to know that the animals were not "feed lot" but were grass-fed/pasture raised (known by the term "happy meat" in my household!). Since my family is unable to accomplish the vegan lifestyle, I try to be choosey about meat products when I can. This also is going to begin to include poultry and eggs - as the treatment of chickens is heartbreaking.
I'm sure many of you are thinking that Farmer's Markets are pricier than grocery stores. And yes, a lot of the times they most definitely are. HOWEVER, I am finding that the things I buy from the Farmer's Market don't just languish in our fridge. It's a weird thing, but I feel more compelled to make sure there isn't any product waste. And, buying in a smaller quantity saves us money in the long run. For example, many times we will not be able to finish gallon of milk before it's expiration date BUT we have no problem finishing the smaller sized market one AND I have yet to have the farm market milk turn before the date (like the conventional milk has!).
There is a reason that our market will double food stamp dollars to try to entice people to come. Good food is important and should be as accessible as possible to everyone.
As Papa and I discuss this more, and the Spring season is upon us, we are willing to try to cut back elsewhere to fund this instead.
Starting in April, I will be back to posting tallies of our food expenditures - including our weekly Farmer's Market trips. (I have March receipts together but I am still ignoring them. LOL) I will hopefully be going more into depth about our farmer's market adventures too.