Thursday, August 26, 2010

Baby's first farmers market

One of my fondest memories from childhood is going apple picking with my mom and sister at a local orchard.

We’d put on our jeans and our hoodies and head to the orchard. We knew we’d be coming home with bags upon bags of fresh, delicious, juicy red Macintosh apples, and that meant fall was here, and apple-based recipes (particularly my mom’s apple crisp) were on their way.

It’s not that our mom couldn’t have taken us to the supermarket and gotten apples, but she wanted us to have the experience of getting delicious food while supporting our local farmers. As convenient as it may be to run to the supermarket for fruits and veggies, it’s far more satisfying for me to patronize our local growers by buying from area farmers markets, and that’s something I’ve decided I want to teach our son about.

That’s why I considered this week-long blog-a-thon celebrating the statewide Massachusetts Farmers Market week a perfect chance to bring my son to his first farmers market. The blogging extravaganza is sponsored by In Our Grandmothers’ Kitchens. Please consider making a donation to support Massachusetts Farmers Markets, and donate here!

So this past Sunday, we put on our rain gear and headed out to see what we could find at some of the farmer’s markets near us. Living in Webster, we don’t have too many venues around us for markets, but we’re willing to drive a bit. Since the Charlton market didn’t happen because of the rain, we headed to the Mass Pike. While some might think it an unlikely locale for a farmers market, we Massachusetts-ians know better.

You begin to see the signs at the mid-point between exits 9 and 10. Though it may seem odd to have farms selling their wares at a Pike rest area, you’d be surprised (or shocked on this rainy day) to see just how many travelers had stopped to check out the stands.

On this rainy Sunday in sideways-blowing drizzle, we were lucky to see three local vendors with tents at the stop. Best-Fresh Gardens of Charlton had some beautiful tomatoes, chard and herbs, as well as a huge selection of fruit preserves and spreads, Honey Bees R Us had jarred honey and fresh combs, and a third tent whose name we weren’t able to catch had fresh peaches, tomatoes, squash, corn and zucchini available.

Though the little guy was getting drenched, he wasn’t too wet to smile at the ladies, and show off his cool new Curious George raincoat.

He was particularly interested in the honey display, or maybe just the pretty lady behind the counter! We were particularly excited with the fact that one of the vendors at the market mentioned they’d be on hand through November with preserves and pies. Once the weather clears (not that we have much room to complain considering the mild summer we’ve had), we’ll definitely be taking our little boy back.

Though we would have loved to sample a little of everything that was available, we ended up buying two large zucchini, a carton of peaches, two hothouse tomatoes, a jar of raspberry preserves and a piece of zucchini bread (from Best-Fresh Gardens, and I have to say… it was worth driving in the rain to taste!). All in all, some amazing purchases.

Later this week, I’ll be posting some recipes using the fresh fruits and veggies we purchased. The little guy has been enjoying them all this week (particularly the peaches), and he’ll be my test critic with my other recipes.

Though it may have been wet and rainy, the trip to Charlton was worth it. Besides the delicious spoils of our trip, we got to show our son that buying local is best, and supporting area farmers is critical. Not only are we supporting our local economy, we’re buying the freshest ingredients our money can buy, and that’s always a great thing.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

We LOVE the farmer's market! I forgot my camera last time but fingers crossed I will remember next time! We have great partial indoor market in Virginia Beach that rocks!