I’ve been listening to a wonderful talk on TED Talks by Carl Honore ‘In praise of slowness’ and he said that farmers markets are currently having their renaissance. Why? A couple of reasons: there are more and more “slow” movements (Slow Food for example) and people start to realise that whizzing through life is not only pointless (what’s the rush?) but actually really exhausting. You only have one life so why not enjoy it?
Putting philosophy aside, I’ve been going to our local farmers market religiously every Saturday. It’s crazy that I only saw it there a couple of months ago even though it was opened over 6 years ago. Obviously I’ve been too busy to notice it…
Ah, what a joy it is to see those wonderful organic and locally sourced vegetables! Buying from the farmers market you not only support the local farmers and small business owners, you also support the environment by cutting down on the money, energy and resources needed to ship the food to you. Also, most vegetables are sold loose without any plastic bags (tomatoes and mushrooms are given to you in a paper bag). When I do shopping at the big supermarket, I bring home tons of packaging, it feels like almost every single apple is wrapped in plastic, yuck!
No packaging at the farmers market also means that you need to bring your own reusable carrying bag – but I guess since the new law on plastic bags has been introduced in the UK, we’re kind of used to it by now, right? Saying that, I’m dreaming of a proper wicker shopping basket, the kind of my grandmother would bring her shopping in. And yes, I know that this perhaps sounds totally crazy, most people would probably dream of a new Gucci bag…
Another reason I absolutely love our farmers market is the variety of produce, the abundance of vegetables that are simply impossible to come across at the bigger supermarkets. I actually had to Google some of the plants I brought home (remember: no plastic bags – no labels). My absolute favourites are: rainbow carrots, wild garlic leaves, mustard leaves, kohlrabi, yellow beetroots, pink cauliflower, fairy tale aubergines, rainbow Swiss chard and one million types of squashes.
I sometimes buy a vegetable that I have no idea how I’m going to cook. But this is where all the fun starts. I love being creative and trying new recipes. And of course I use the help of Google to get inspired and find out cooking times but the proper battlefield is in the kitchen. I’m very lucky to have a husband who, no matter how big a disaster I cook, he always seem to love it. Ah, bless!
PS. You really must wash your veggies before cooking, even the ones coming from the farmers market. “Why?”, you’d ask; they are organic, right? Yes, but because they are so organic they sometimes come with extra protein hidden here and there. The other day I found two little slugs in the mustard leaves. Some other time it was a tiny worm incubating inside the lettuce head. Now, this is what you really call organic!