As I prepared my garden beds for winter I thought about how I admire those who work hard in their family business to supply their produce for the public; farmers, ranchers, fishermen, etc. These men and women work long hours doing physical labor that make it possible for us to put quality product on our tables. In my opinion they must really have a passion for what they do as I’m sure the only true reward they receive is satisfaction in a job well done.
I used to hate gardening when I was young. Then in my preteen years when we moved yet again, we had fruit trees, berry bushes, and a garden. This is when I started to appreciate being able to go out into the small orchard to pick my cherries for a pie or picking my beans for dinner. As a kid, nothing beat standing in front of our raspberry bush and eating more berries than I placed in my bucket. I also worked in the summers picking strawberries at a local farm, and even worked a potato farm. When I was about 14, I started to work at a nearby stable and soon found out that behind the scenes it is backbreaking work. People who own farms and ranches are not afraid of hard work, but do it because they have a passion.
When I stroll through my local farmers market, I am reminded how much time and effort goes into producing what I see. There are some who just might see the price tag when buying something home-grown, but for me there is nothing that replaces a farmer whose passion is quality not quantity. To actually bite into a fresh tomato that was locally grown, from a farmer who has a reputation for caring for her land and produce, to me it’s worth the drive and price for peace of mind that I am contributing in a small way to help my neighbors in their family business.
Is it always feasible to go just to a farmers market? No, but there are grocers who try to build upon what our local farmers are producing. Who want quality product that is not loaded with chemicals or hormones. These markets know that in buying from family owned farms they are not only giving their customers quality product, but also in growing the economy by helping these private entities stay in business.
In my area we have several farmers markets. Some new and relatively small, and some well established. Farmers markets are growing as consumers are becoming more conscientious in what they are eating and putting on their table. There is satisfaction and peace of mind knowing exactly where your food was grown. If you have never visited a farmers market, try going to one and get to know those who are putting their products out for sale. Try several if your area has them available. Next week I’m taking my own advice and will go to one of the new ones. It may be smaller but you never know what a “find” you might discover.