Tomorrow is the beginning of the Grayslake spring farmers market and to be honest, I'm pretty excited. I love farmers markets and these days, I do get excited about any possible outing.
Why do I love farmers markets so much? They fit in nicely to some of the ways I would like to see the world and my values.
First of all, all of the items you purchase are local. One of the biggest expenses to food is shipping costs and mark up in a store for extra profit. While farmers markets food isn't exactly cheap, I know it all goes back to the actual farmer. And I am also a believer in supporting small businesses. I would rather buy cupcakes from the local small bakery then buy the prepackaged manufactured ones from Jewel. And personally, I would like my local economy to be strong and support my community.
Small farms and farmers tend to use less herbicides and insecticides. Better for the environment, better for my health. Also without being "certified organic". Do you know how daunting the process is for a farmer to receive that certification? many local farmers are already technically organic, without having the official title.
Also, have you ever tasted the difference between fresher vs. storebought items? For example, potatoes are a staple in our house all year long. Last year we tried to grow potatoes as a part of our garden. When we harvested them and ate them right away...holy cow! they were ridiculous. The difference was apparent right away. Soooo much better fresh. Who would have thought with potatoes? Also, have you ever had fresh honey compared to the store bought crazy manufactured crap. there is no comparison
One of my favorite reasons is that you can get to know the farmers and actually see where the products come from. Many times I have been invited to come see the farm/where the product comes from. This is actually been a big thing for me with meat. its no secret that I went vegetarian maybe 10 years ago. The main reason was the ethical treatment of animals, which in big factory environments, is pretty God-aweful and I will not have my money goes towards that. I mean, animals kept pent up indoors their entire lives in inhumane (with no room to even move) conditions fed food unfit for human consumption. Yet we are going to eventually consume it? I could go on and on about this, but I will spare you. However IF I KNOW AND APPROVE OF WHERE IT CAME FROM , technically, I will eat it. I just want to know that the animal got to live an animal life and ate what that animal normally eats (not hormones, and all grain, etc). Animals eat animals, its the circle of life, but it should be a good life. Two local meat farmers invited me to see their farms. I did. I approved. This became a larger issue when I became pregnant and wanted to increase my iron and protein intake. While there are other ways in your diet to do it, I felt comfortable signing up for local Farmer Nick's winter CSA and can drive up to the buffalo farm (Lesters) and drive by the happy buffalo I am about to consume.
Is the farmers market meat more expensive? yes. But we then eat less. We really weren't meant to eat as much meat as we do anyway. And we feel better about our purchase.
Also, they are outdoors and frankly, I just like to be outside. And add shopping to the mix (which I also enjoy) , we have ourselves a great experience
And so tomorrow, Ben and I venture to downtown Grayslake to support our community, local agriculture, support ethical farming, get outside, to shop and to have a merry time.
Support your local farmers markets!!!!