Here’s a list of helpful tips for your next trip to the farmer’s market:
1. Bring cash. Some markets are starting to work with plastic, but generally cash is preferred.
2. Bring your own bags including different sizes. It should be obvious why reusing a bag every time is better for the environment. It also helps farmers save a little bit of money if they don’t have to give out a plastic bag with every transaction. The different sizes are good for things like green beans or cherry tomatoes – they can help contain smaller items.
3. The early bird gets the worm. I find it best to get to a market early before it’s overcrowded, or too hot, or all the good produce is picked over.
4. Plan your menu and meals before going. This will hopefully prevent you from overbuying and then your fresh produce going to waste because you couldn’t eat it in time. Fresh produce can be so intoxicating, and so make sure you know what you really need. (more…)
Cheryl Muñoz is the co-founder of the Sugar Beet Coop, an Oak Park, IL food cooperative providing high quality, locally sourced food at fair value to its member-owners and the community. It also serves as a neighborhood gathering place for sharing and learning about the regional food shed.
AE: Fed up or filled up?
CM: Both. I’ll start with what I am fed up with first because it happens to be Thursday and my fridge is looking bare. I live in Oak Park where I am lucky to enjoy an incredible farmers’ market but it’s only held on Saturdays for six months of the year. Sure, I could go to another market in Chicago or another suburb but I want to stay local, and focus my energy and my dollars in my community. I want eating locally and sustainably to be a convenient option for my family and for others in my community. (more…)
I am so honored to have Oran B. Hesterman, president of the Fair Food Network and author of Fair Food, submit a special entry for Fed Up. Here it is:
Fed up, Filled up and…Fueled up
When asked, “Are you filled up or fed up?” it’s a both/and for me. We have had a remarkable summer at Fair Food Network (FFN) and around the country on our Fair Food book tour, and I am definitely filled up with gratitude for all those who worked hard to make this tour such a success. But not all is sweetness and light as we dissect and challenge our food system: this is where the “fed up” comes in.
I am fed up with assertions that sustainable agriculture cannot feed the world: there’s lots of evidence to the contrary, and it’s really the only way forward. Even the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations launched a new initiative this past June to help meet the food needs of our rising world population in environmentally friendly, sustainable ways. They say that economizing on production costs and helping small farmers save actually enables maximum yields and frees more funds for farmers to invest in their health and education. Sounds like a win-win situation to me. (more…)
How can I put this nicely? Um…don’t be an idiot and miss out on the summer season of farmer markets. This is the time to savor fresh fruits and vegetables coming right out of the ground at a farm near you. Your culinary creations will taste better, and you’ll be doing good to the planet. And you’ll be kicking yourself in January that you didn’t take advantage of fresh ingredients when you had the chance!
The City of Chicago has a nice site listing city markets, and there are more. Do the research. There is a market on every day of the week. There are markets in the morning and in the evening. There is probably one very close to you. So no excuses! Support your local farmers and your taste buds – and ultimately your health – will thank you.