Thursday, August 23, 2012

Simple pleasures of a local farmer's market

On my recent vacation to Florida, I asked my sister, a Floridian for decades, if there was a farmer's market nearby. I admit, I had the bug to get out and discover wonderful local produce, products and crafts.

"Sure", she droned. "Down the road about a mile, there's a great market called Brown's that has organic milk, raw honey and lots of stuff you like." She knows me well.

My sister and her family are Gulf Coast dwellers, planted comfortably in a nice suburban community of middle class houses that circle a man-made pond. Every morning storks and prehistoric sounding birds  wander aimlessly on the streets, asserting the right of first refusal to leave Dodge.

It came as a surprise that they are minutes away from commercial farms that grow much of our tomatoes, produce and fruit. And they have cattle ranches with cowboys. Really. In Florida.

When we arrived at Brown's Farmers Market, my sister, niece and I were drawn by the smells of fresh picked produce mounded on the wooden tables, organic milk from cows peering at us behind the fence line, and a fish monger of sorts: a friendly, talkative chap who agreeably discussed the pros and cons of fish farming vs deep water catches.

But my eyes were fixated on the shelves that lay ahead, with amber and caramel colored jars gleaming  under the streaming sunlight. Nirvana. Local honey. And homemade jam minimally processed of course, with cloth and ribboned caps, lined up in neat rows like homespun art that beckoned... choose me!

I live in the Philadelphia region, where we brag about the famous Reading Terminal Market.

Whereas Brown's has an open-aired roadside rustic appeal, Philadelphia's Market is an expansive melange of ethnic and traditional foods, cuisine, crafts and more. It's a cultural delight, a hodgepodge of sounds, smells, and tastes that satisfy any craving.  

Hey, Adam Richman, host of Best Sandwich in America, recently named DiNic's roast pork sandwich, the best sandwich in the country!

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the Reading Terminal Market, but give me the country road stands and farmer's markets any day. There I can linger over produce, chat with the farmer, and be lured in by the hypnotic dance of the honeybees skipping from flower to flower in the wide open fields.

For those who are curious where you might find a great Farmer's Market near you, check out: Local Harvest. Great organic food awaits.

Now, if I can only get used to those strange sounding crane-like birds in the morning...
Let us know your favorite market and why! Best ever market is ????

Garden Media Group
photo credit: GMG, Brown's Farmer's Market
Photo credit: Reading Terminal Market: & Wikipedia Commons

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