Yesterday morning I got up and walked to the Farmers’ Market. I do this every Saturday morning, most Wednesday mornings and Friday afternoons. I do this for lots of reasons. The main reason I shop at the Market is that I like to know where my food is coming from. I know which farmers use pesticides and which don’t or try not to.
I also like to support the farmers, beekeepers and artisans of my community. Shopping locally keeps money in the pockets of my neighbors and keeps it out of the pockets of multi-national corporations and agribusinesses like Tyson. By buying local goods I’m using my dollars to vote for the little guy.
Another reason I shop at the Farmers’ Market is that it is better for the environment. Growing and transporting our food uses millions of gallons of oil every year. According to Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food, our food system uses 20% of the fossil fuels we consume.
When I shop at the Farmers’ Market I help protect my family from the tainted food that frequently plagues grocery shoppers around the country. Spinach, lettuce, meat and most recently, eggs, have been recalled due to contaminations by Salmonella or E. Coli bacteria. The farmers that grow my food feed that same food to their families; they’re not going to do anything that will risk their loved ones.
Even though I love the Farmers’ Market, I don’t go there just to shop. Don’t get me wrong, I bought a lot yesterday and I even remembered my wagon so I could get it all home but when I go to the Market each Saturday morning, I go to work. All summer I have been working for Nic and Jen at 9 Bean Rows in exchange for my CSA share. I love working at the Market. I have met and formed great relationships with a lot of really cool people. Most of them are farmers, but some are fishermen, beekeepers, vintners or soapmakers. I support them and they take care of me. Many of them I now consider my friends.
In July, I picked up a part-time job. Don’t ask me why, but I did. I started working lunches in the Silvertree Deli. The deli is a great place; the architecture of both the deli and the entire Mercato is gorgeous, the sandwiches are delicious and everyone that works there is a lot of fun. Despite all the wonderful things about the deli, I started having regrets the first day.
“What have I done?” I wondered. “How will I take my kids to the beach? When will I make cheese? Or jam?” All these thoughts swirling in my head started keeping me up at night. “I’ll quit in the morning.” I told myself day after day. And then I’d get to work and I’d feel bad and not quit. I lasted a whole month before I finally decided that my time was more important to me than my summer job.
I’m still busy, but now I have more time for canning, cooking, knitting, sewing and the beach.