I love Farmers’ Markets and most recently I find myself spending more time at them: purchasing, tasting, seeking out local product and also getting to know the local growers – quite the education and so much to learn.
Farmers markets are one of the oldest forms of direct marketing by small farmers. Saying that, I guess I started direct marketing at a young age (10, to be exact). Growing up on a farm in the Midwest, each summer we sold sweet corn by the truck-fulls (literally), sitting at the corner of Highway 150 and our gravel road selling dozens and dozens of ears of corn each day, along with other fresh vegetables from our garden. If my memory serves me correctly, the going rate was 25 cents a dozen or 5 dozen for a dollar. (Oh my, can you believe that?)
I recently read there are almost two million farms in the USA. About 80% of those are small farms, and large percentages are family owned. More and more of these farmers are now selling their products directly to the public. They do this via CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs, Farmers Markets, Food Co-ops, u-picks, farm stands.
In the Phoenix area we have several throughout the Valley; it seems that one or two more farmers’ markets open every year, making them more accessible to more people. Some are open year-round, and some are seasonal. Some markets offer Gardening & Cooking Demonstrations by local chefs. Some farmers markets have live entertainment. Shopping at a farmers market is a great way to meet local farmers and get fresh, flavorful produce.
More and more of the fruits and vegetables, along with beef, pork and lamb are coming to America from countries that do not share our values for sustainably produced, wholesome and safe food. American family farmers operate in the most expensive, heavily regulated, closely watched farming environment in the world. They care about the environment, they care about their farm workers and they care about the consumers. In other countries this is not the case.
Do you know where your food comes from? (I could go on and on about farm fresh/locally grown foods but will keep that for another day!)
“We love farmers. They feed our soul.” With that being said, here are a two courses prepared from Friday’s Market.
Cauliflower Puree with Seared Scallops & Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
Roasted Beets with Fossil Creek Goat Cheese, Toasted Walnuts & Balsamic Vinaigrette