Late spring and summer are the best time to visit the farmer’s market, but these days you can likely find a winter farmers market to help you get some really tasty produce. Since this is all about how to connect over food I am not going to get into the great benefits of fresh produce or how it tastes better from the market. Nope, I am going to talk about all the people you can meet and the importance of those relationships. You could go to the market and get in and out, but would that be the most fun? It certainly wouldn’t be connecting over food.
Knowing your farmer
There are a few great reasons to know your farmer. First, if they grow it they probably know how to use it in the kitchen. This makes them a valuable recipe resource. The other reason is that you be sure how your food is grown and when it will taste the best. There is the obvious info of, “was it grown with or without pesticides?” But the farmer can also tip you off to when the best tomatoes are coming off the plants. Want to know when the melons are at their peak, or what the most flavor green is they know.
The farmer’s ability to talk to you about the produce and to have delicious produce is what drives their business so they are more than happy to talk to you. Developing a relationship with the farmer is about showing up week after week asking about new products, what is coming next week and complimenting them on the great product you had the last week.
Seeing your neighbor
Most markets are fairly local. Even in a smaller city like Indianapolis, we have at least a half a dozen markets that happen on Saturdays. You are likely to run into at least a couple of people. If you have kids I think the odds increase exponentially. It is a great place to be on a nice Saturday where the kids can laugh and see friends while you get grocery shopping done and have some adult conversations.
An enjoyable grocery shopping experience
Normal grocery shopping rules for kids just don’t apply at the farmers market. Everything is naturally more relaxed and loose. The sunny outdoors, dogs and likely some live entertainment just don’t set that same scene as the fluorescent-lit, concrete floor of a grocery store. I think this makes the food taste even better. Though it probably has far more to do with the fact that the food just came off the plant and didn’t travel that far. Whatever it is the market can make your weekly chore a little more fun.