Last week I wrote a post about the importance of our connection, or in that case lack of it between eating and the food that sustains us. I was pretty depressed and wanted to vent.
Here’s a way to nurture the connection. Check out local farmers markets near you and go to one. If you do, you will interact with farmers, growers, fishermen, cheesemakers and specialty food producers who take the food from the earth, bring it directly to neighborhood markets in a few hours.
Get close enough to the foods and you will discover that each one, beets, fennel, celery, even potatoes, has its own smell. Bite into the sweetness of a carrot only a few hours out of the ground and you will know what carrots actually taste like. Greet the seller and you will discover that most of the people working the stalls also plant, grow and pick the produce, make the cheese, raise the hogs, lambs or beef or catch the seafood.
What strengthens my connection as much as the food is the pride and enthusiasm of its producers. Buying carrots from someone who works as hard as they do and also is as impassioned by his or her craft as those producers are helps me love the food I buy and understand just a little, what it takes to get it to market.
Last October one farmer went to the trouble of cooking five different winter squashes so that her buyers could taste the differences among them. How connecting is that?
Chris Curtis is the founder and director of the Seattle Neighborhood Farmers Market Alliance started in 1993 with the University Farmers Market. The Alliance now includes eight farmers markets in as many Seattle neighborhoods. Every week, all year, subscribers to the market receive an email about what is available in the markets. If you would like to subscribe click here. Another connector.
There are many farmers markets in the Seattle area, a total of 39 in King County and 114 in Washington State. Only a few stay open all year, but those that do are treasures. Check out the following photos* of Seattle’s Ballard Farmers Market taken in early February. Then think about a big plastic tray of McNuggets. See what I mean?
*Click on any photo to enlarge it.