Although the air is chilly this morning and we all had cold, wet toes after our pre-breakfast harvesting, this week’s forecast still holds some nice weather, something we are thankful for as we look towards this weekends potluck, as well as the last few farmer’s markets. There are three week’s of market left, and as we have noticed a steady decline in attendance at the market since labor day, we want to encourage you all to make it to these remaining markets.
We do 75% of our shopping at market, with olive oil, sea salt, rice, oats and coffee our main store purchases. The market has a wide variety of healthy meat available–lamb, beef, chicken, pork, and fresh caught seafood–and delicious fruit–apples, plums, nectarines, peaches, berries, pears, watermelon, and canteloupe. There has been goat milk and cheese this year, although the season for this is almost at an end. And there are eggs–they sell out fairly quickly. These are the staples, but you can also go home with beautiful bouquets, really good beer from Heater-Allen (our neighbors at the market), decorations for your home or gifts for you family and friends. There are medicinal herb tinctures as well as teas, cosmetics, soaps, and so much more!
Sure, these locally produced products might be available at some of our local stores; still, once market ends, these producers lose this great direct sales venue. On a small scale, or even on a slightly larger one, producers make next to nothing when their product sells though a storefront that is not their own. Buying directly from a local producer is the best way to support the production of local products. As market draws to an end, I shudder to think of making it through winter without this great place to shop.
In preparation, we are stocking the freezer with meat, a whole lamb and some extra beef. We will get some extra pork as well, to get us through until our pigs have cleaned up the fallen acorns. We are buying a gallon of honey and 20lbs of organic walnuts, as well as buying a few things for Christmas gifts now. We try to freeze half of the fruit we buy each week so we have some when market ends, but we have to go to pick-your-own orchards and berry patches to get enough of these things for winter. As I take stock of my pantry, I feel a little like a squirrel. Next market season is a long way off, and I don’t want to find myself eyeing mediocre food from the grocery store.
Every week when I come home from market, the items in my bag are so beautiful, and when I prepare them in the kitchen or use them for medicine or to moisten my lips, the quality is always amazing. These are the best products one could hope for, with a name and a face and a story behind each one of them that my children and I can become personal with. All this luxury on a farmer’s income, it is almost unthinkably lush. It isn’t though, it only seems as such because of the lackluster experience modern consumerism gives us. So come down and enjoy the last few week’s of market and go home with more than just a week’s worth of shopping, but true nourishment for the body and soul.