Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Farmer's Markets

I hate trends.
I will go out of my way to avoid anything that somebody tells me I MUST try, or a movie I MUST see.
I will never watch Avatar.
If it is the cool thing to do, I am doing the opposite. Especially if it is PC.
Lately : “foodies” going on and on about shopping at farmer’s markets; article after article saying how the quality is better, “support your local, small businesses!” yada, yada, yada. I don’t care. I don’t want to become one of those hippie types who think they are saving the planet because they buy local and organic foods.

Now, in between my stubbornness I have moments of clarity, I realize this: That this is completely stupid of me. I could NEVER be a hippie.

Oh and also, it is silly to totally discount something, just because it is popular: Earth to Blair: Maybe it is popular for a reason! Did I ever think of that?

Well, I have let go of my apprehension to farmer’s markets and in fact, I have become a convert, thanks to my friend Aimee.
Against all that is me, I come to you today and am going to try to convince you to shop farmer’s markets.
One of the most amazing eating summers for me was when I worked at Babette’s Kitchen ( in Millbrook, NY. Every weekend the Millbrook’s Farmer’s Market took place. I have never tasted a tomato like the ones I ate that summer. As a lunch special we offered a BLT. Now normally the bacon is my favorite part. But that summer, the tomatoes were the best. The tomato flavor was super concentrated.
Normally zucchinis make me gag. The ones I ate that summer were so tender and sweet, I could eat them raw. This was the summer I fell in love with dill!
Why was the produce so remarkable, you ask? Because they were all picked that morning. They were so fresh, they still had bugs on them (organic!)-which made my skin crawl, but, hey, more protein, right? I ate local mesculane mix, nothing in comparison to the bland, bagged, near compost monstrosity sold at your neighborhood franchised grocery store. Wilted, yellowing chives, leathery looking romaine leaves, limes with skins like they had a bad case of acne. Why waste you money on poor produce? Because it’s convenient? Chives should emanate their lovely fragrance. Lettuce should be tender and flavorful. Juicy citrus should have small pores and shiny skins. Have I gotten in that head of yours?
Another perk of shopping at farmer’s markets, not only will you get the best of the harvest, pay less for it, have it last longer (because it wasn’t picked weeks beforehand) but the produce they are selling is in SEASON! As a country we can get all sorts of produce regardless of the season. That doesn’t make it right. I challenge you. Eat a tomato at the height of it’s season. Then eat one in the middle of winter. Notice the difference in color, flavor and juiciness. Is it red on the outside with a pale, anemic looking flesh?
I don’t need to hear your comparisons, I already know. Take advantage of the seasonal produce because they fit the season for a reason. Potatoes, turnips, cabbage in winter=braises! Long cooking processes that warm your home and hungry bellies. Tomatoes, basil, cucumbers=quick, light, cool sauces for hot, sweaty summers!

Well I have given it my all. I have a stated my arguments, it is now up to you. Yes, the convenience is a good argument to stay with your nation wide grocery store. But I ask you once: Just try it. If the produce isn’t as hugely better than what you expected, and if supporting a local, small business isn’t as satisfying, well then you are more stubborn than I. Good for you.

No comments:

Post a Comment