Like the majority of the world, Saturday is my favorite day of the week. For obvious reasons, of course, like being off of work and having a lazy day to do whatever I’d like, but also because it’s the day Steve and I get to stock up on local produce and goodies at our farmer’s market, Atherton Mill & Market.
We started our journey to eat local and support area farmers about two years ago, shopping at the Kings Drive Farmers Market in Charlotte. We were super excited and our “green” attitude was bursting all over the place as we stocked up on lots of berries, pineapple, and veggies. One day, while enjoying our weekly loot, I was browsing online and little did I know that the proud “green” bubble I had put myself into was about to burst. While doing some research to find out more about our local markets, I learned that those delicious local berries I was enjoying actually came from Brazil, and the pineapple that was sitting on my counter waiting for me to make a mess while Steve watched in horror as I hacked into it with an oversized knife, actually traveled all the way from Costa Rica.
So, as it turns out, we weren’t enjoying produce that was just picked the day before and we weren’t supporting our local farmer’s at all, we were basically eating the same produce that they sell at the grocery store, we were just buying it outside and being tricked by our logical assumption that food at the farmer’s market was actually grown and sold by local area farmers.
So, here we are, two years later, still soaking up all the information we can learn about what eating local, or being a “locavore,” actually means. Produce that you purchase at your grocery store travels about 1,500 miles to get from the farm to your plate. Obviously, the environmental impact of eating carrots from Harris Teeter versus eating carrots from a local farmer is significantly different. Not only are those local carrots more fresh, tasty, and environmentally friendly, but we are also able to speak directly to the farmer who grew them, and be assured that they weren’t treated with any chemicals or pesticides that I don’t really want to put into my body. I know that eating local 100% of the time is unrealistic, but we do what we can to eat with the seasons, spend our money so that it supports our local farmers and economy, all the while enjoying the sense of community and good nutrition that comes from incorporating local foods into our diet.
So, back to today! After a long few months of greens, greens, and more greens, the milder weather has finally stocked the market with a little more produce variety. We still bought our kale and spinach today, but we were also able to bring home some carrots and sweet potatoes too. We also bought some eggs from the farmers that we’ll be getting our CSA from in the spring, and a couple of the eggs are blue. Check out the sweet little chickens who provided us with the eggs here.
Another thing I love about our farmers market is the non-food vendors who bring local made soaps, jewelry, and even the sweetest little kid aprons made out of green materials. I’ve had my eye on some bath salts for the past few months, so today I finally picked up a bottle and I can’t wait to try it out. We also stopped by Savory Spice Shop next door to pick up some ginger and nutmeg so that I can make Steve’s favorite granola.
I’ll be incorporating the veggies that we got today into spinach pockets with marinara sauce, carrot pancakes or carrot breakfast cookies, and probably some sweet potato granola to use as my breakfast cereal, that is, if I ever get out of the relaxation coma that I’m sure will be brought on by my salt filled bath tomorrow.
If you’re interested in eating local, check out localharvest.org to find options near you.
And that’s a wrap for today, have a great rest of the weekend!