You’ve worked hard all week, whether it be in an office building, shuttling kids from school to practice to home (and back again for the next kid!) or on the road visiting client after client. It’s now the weekend and you have earned some rest and relaxation, CONGRATULATIONS! How will you spend your time off? How will you be rewarded?
If you are like us, you my friend, now get to spend an hour surrounded by shelves full of over-processed goods that have been marketed to us as pantry staples! Not to mention, pushing germy shopping carts up and down crowded aisles listening to music from, at least, a decade ago. Although to be fair, if you’re lucky, your favorite jam from the past will come on and you may catch yourself singing to the bottle of ketchup in the aisle… anyone? Or maybe that’s just us! Anyway, you continue to the picked over produce where you must decide between the bananas that will MAYBE be ripe and ready to eat next week or if your family can consume FIVE bananas before they are ready to be turned into banana bread the NEXT day. Let’s not even start to discuss the over priced avocados, or green rocks as we call them. Once you have crossed everything off your list, as well as all the extra impulse items, you know those perfectly positioned goods on the end of aisles or in the middle of your path? Well, unfortunately it WORKED and they are now in your cart, but non the less, you are ready to check out. Are you the type that likes to wait in the long lines for the register or do you prefer what initially seems faster, self checkout, only to have something not scan correctly and spend what seems like an eternity waiting on assistance? By the time you finally make it to your car, you are EXHAUSTED! If this doesn’t seem like a perfect weekend to you, good news, there’s a better option close by!
Farmers markets are certainly not a new concept but often a forgotten one. We are habitual by nature and have accepted traditional grocery stores without even giving it a second thought. If you are one of those people, let us introduce you to the benefits of farmers markets! Supporting local farmers gives them a FIGHTING CHANCE in an industry dominated by large companies, provides YOU with the freshest, most healthful, organic, NON-GMO foods and promotes SUSTAINABILITY. A win-win for all!
When you first approach a farmers market, you will notice the rows and rows of canopies in the fresh open air. No dingy yellow lights, no rows of refrigerators and freezers and no boxed items. Look at the people! Now we know, grocery stores have people too, but look at THESE people! What’s different about them? They genuinely appear happier AND seem excited to be here. You see people young and old, even entire families, walking up and down the aisles together. Friends saying hello and weekend cycling groups stopping for a snack after their ride. We haven’t even mentioned the COLORS! Look at all of the bright inviting colors of the produce, some of which you have probably never even heard of before!
The fruits and vegetables at the farmers market are some of the freshest and tastiest you can buy! They are allowed to fully ripen naturally before being picked and only available during their prime season. There is no time spent sitting in storage waiting to be loaded and transported for delivery. Did you know, food in the U.S. travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to your plate?! There is no rush to get those colorless products to you just to fill the strawberry section in the winter. They simply are fresh, from the farm, straight to you, when they are ready to be picked. This means the freshest asparagus in the spring, the tastiest mixed berry pancakes in the summer, warm pumpkin pie in the fall and the best roasted brussels sprouts in the winter.
Do you ever feel like you make the same rotation of dinner entrees again and again and again? GUILTY! Talk to the merchants at the market. They can be a great resource for tips and recipes as they don’t just grow the food, they eat it too! You can also learn more about the history of the merchant as well as how and WHERE the food is produced. This also makes for a great talking point around the dinner table!
Farmers markets are not just for the freshest produce! You can also find the best local dairy, meats, poultry, seafood and that local honey you will soon be needing to fend off those spring allergies! Or maybe you don’t feel like cooking today? There are often several street vendors whipping up made to order crepes, popping fresh kettle corn or serving their newest dish.
We are lucky to live in an area with an abundance of farmers markets nearby AND open year round! There are many benefits of shopping at farmers markets but it can also make shopping for groceries FUN and remind you what a great community we are lucky to be part of! Of course you will still probably need to run into a big box store but let’s minimize the amount of time spent inside and enjoy the great outdoors. Help support your local farmers market this weekend by shopping at one listed below!
Danville – Railroad Ave Municipal Parking Lot, Saturdays 9am – 1pm, year round
Dublin – Emerald Glen Park, Thursdays 4 – 8pm, April 2 – Sept 24
Livermore – Carnegie Town Square – Sundays 10:30am – 2pm, year round and Thursdays
4 – 8pm April – October
Pleasanton – Main St & W Angela St – Saturdays 9am – 1pm, year round
San Ramon – City Center – Saturdays 9am – 1pm, year round and Thursdays starting in the spring