Sunday, September 15, 2013

Visiting the farmer's market

I love visiting the farmer's market in the fall. Cool crisp air, the samples of delicious honey crisp apples and heirloom tomatoes, the gourds stacked in baskets...ah, bliss!  Cruising the various vendors at harvest time gives a pleasure even more gratifying than when you do it in the spring or during the hot humid days of summer.

To see fresh vegetables as they really look and not the perfect ones you see packaged in supermarkets is a joy to behold. Take carrots, for example. I love the knobby, bumpy fat carrots still attached to their green tops--they look as if they were just plucked from the soil that very day (they probably were). The varieties of peppers, tomatoes, even greens, never cease to amaze me. I always need to bring a minimum of three bags. It is hard to stick to a budget once you see what you have to choose from!

Discovering new varieties of veggies at farmers markets is another joy. Yesterday I sampled tatsoi for the first time--this is a green I had never heard of.  It is an Asian dark leafy green. { I liked it but this time decided not to get it. Most of the greens I buy go to my rabbits--not knowing tatsoi's calcium content, I decided to pass on it. As it was, I was treating Benjamin and Cinnamon to a fresh bundle of dandelion greens, which I give them on rare occasions as a treat. They love them but too much calcium is not good for rabbits. }  . More importantly, shopping at farmers' markets support your local farmers. I would rather my hard earned money go to these folks than corporations. You will find quite a difference in the quality of the fruits and veggies you buy locally than you do in your local supermarket.

For me, though, what I love is how much my rabbits benefit from my visit to the farmer's market. I leap for joy when I can buy two huge bundles of fresh dill (my rabbits are serious dillaholics) instead of having to buy those ridiculously expensive plastic containers at the grocery store that contain not even a meal's worth of dill in them. The fresh sweet basil smells heavenly and I swear tastes better than the kind boxed up in the supermarket's produce section. And sometimes you can get other varieties in this too--Thai basil, for one.  A few weeks ago, I bought the freshest mint I ever had-- a Kentucky colonel mint, I was told. This mint really added zing to my vodka tonic. And the rabbits loved that too--the mint, that is, not the vodka tonic.

So if you haven't done so yet, check out and see if you have a farmer's market close to you, and check it out. You will marvel at the food quality and can feel good about supporting the hard-working people who bring this food to your table.

Happy fall, everyone!

The Hoppy Vegan

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