If you are a regular reader you will know what a huge fan I am of shopping locally, buying from small producers and businesses wherever possible. I’ve also managed to find local farmer’s markets nearby nearly every weekend of the month, and wherever possible I try to attend them. Today I went to a market run by the Thames Valley Farmer’s Market Co-operative at the Cattle Market in Reading, and next week I will go along to another one of their markets even closer to home at Purley-on-Thames.
A trip to your local farmer's market is a great morning out, and it's a wonderful way to get fresh, local, seasonal food and support local producers at the same time. Plus, it is an excellent way to help children connect food to actual producers, not just to supermarkets, as well as giving them an understanding about the seasonality of food. It’s easy to find local markets on line using any search engine. Just for starters, I found a website for the UK http://www.farmersmarkets.net/ and in the US there is a site called http://www.localharvest.org/
As for me, you can see some of the bounty I came home with today in the photograph above - raspberries, blackberries, plums, cherries and tomatoes, all of which were picked yesterday. They all taste so much nicer than supermarket produce that has often been in cold storage for days. I also came home with freshly pressed apple juice, apple and raspberry juice, fresh eggs and some amazing apple and blackberry jam made the old fashioned way. Unlike most store-bought jams, it’s got three ingredients listed on the side - apples, blackberries and sugar. Plus, I spent a whole lot less than if I’d bought all these things at the supermarket.
I’m planning to make Cherry Tomato and Shallot Salad with the tomatoes, Raspberry Almond Muffins with the raspberries, and I’m probably going to invent a new cake or muffin with those gorgeous blackberries. I’m still deciding what to do with the cherries and plums, although we’ll probably just snack on the cherries! I’m glad I’ve got all those nice fresh eggs for baking and to use in my Asparagus Omelette. Plus I’m working on a new Meatless Monday main course recipe using eggs.
If you can, I do encourage you to find out about farmer’s markets local to you and support them if you can. It’s a great way to benefit your health, the environment and support your local economy, often while saving yourself money at the same time - and if that isn’t a win win situation, I don’t know what is!