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    Eating Local Made Easy with Farmers’ Markets

    By Debra Morris–

    As a result of our population becoming increasingly urbanized, going to the grocery store has become part of most people’s weekly routine. Because of that, we have lost touch with where our food comes from. Recent informal polls have shown that almost half of all children surveyed don’t know that carrots grow in the ground!

    Teaching children—and their parents—to eat seasonally and to learn where their food comes from should be made a priority. Farmers’ markets are an excellent place to make them aware of this, as well as the importance of eating healthy and its connection to local farmers. Eating in season means purchasing and consuming fruits and vegetables as they naturally become available, directly after harvest—oranges during the winter months; peaches, tomatoes, and corn during summer; winter squash, grapes, and apples in the fall; and asparagus and peas in the spring.

    Produce tastes better.

    Why shouldn’t I buy a tomato in winter or an apple in spring? Fruits and vegetables just taste better when they’re freshly picked. A luscious ripe tomato, fresh off the vine; spring peas just plucked from their pods; or a crisp apple fresh off the tree have better flavor and nutrition than produce that has been stored for several months.

    You’re helping the environment.

    We need to reduce the energy—and carbon emissions—needed to transport food. Be aware of “food miles” when making your produce choices. A food mile is the distance food travels and the energy consumed to get it from the place of production to our tables. A local farmer can bring you a far fresher product while producing fewer carbon emissions.

    It costs less.

    Food purchased when it’s in season costs less because the fruits and vegetables are readily available. Farmers bring what’s recently been harvested to your farmers’ market, which costs less than purchasing produce that’s been stored when not in season. Wait until produce is in season and your enjoyment will be sweeter.

    You’re supporting the local economy.

    Local farmers bring to the farmers’ market what they grow, directly from the farm to you, the consumer. From farm to table should be your motto with most everything you consume. The local economy, your community, and your local farmers all benefit from your seasonal purchases.

     Reconnect with the seasons.

    Be aware of the seasons and the passage of time. Connect with your local farmers at your farmers’ market, talk to them about their produce, enjoy the seasons as they pass and the produce that they provide.

    Visit your farmers’ market throughout the changing seasons and you’ll be surprised at what’s available. Teach your children where their next meal comes from. Just think, when one product goes out of season, another delicious one comes in!

    The month of February features amazing citrus, flowers, and root vegetables. Right now, Jacob’s Farm has organic vegetables of all kinds. Sunrise Nursery has amazing fresh-cut flowers for your special Valentine. Miss Bee Haven has pure local honey, and Beckmann’s Bakery has freshly baked sourdough and wheat breads, pies, and sweet treats.

    Shopping the farmers’ market assures you a quality and flavor that you won’t find anywhere else—and you’re supporting your farmers and local community!

    Citrus, Avocado and Red Onion Salad

    Handful fresh mixed salad greens or spinach
    1 orange, peeled and segmented
    ½ avocado, peeled, sliced
    ¼ red onion, thinly sliced
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
    Salt and pepper, to taste

    Plate salad greens. Add orange segments, avocado, and red onion. Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and salt and pepper together and drizzle on salad.

    Please note: The Castro Farmers’ Market returns on Wednesday, March 11! Until then, please visit the nearby Divisadero Farmers’ Market at the DMV parking lot, 1375 Fell St., San Francisco. It’s there year-round on Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm.

    Debra Morris is a spokesperson for the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA). Check out the PCFMA website for recipes, information about farmers’ markets throughout the region and for much more:

    Published on February 13, 2020