Mr. Ex and I lived in downtown Phoenix for seven years. As much time as he spent out and about (mostly at his local watering hole hangouts), and as often as we frequented the places down there, neither one of us had been aware of the Farmer’s Market within walking distance of our apartment.
There had been no flyers on the doors.
There had been no flyers from the complex office.
There had been no mention of it from any of the restaurants and cafe’s we ate at down there.
I don’t remember how I’d heard about it, but I only went there once or twice towards the end of our marriage. To this day, I’m kicking my ass for not going more often.
Needless to say, I have seen the error of my ways.
Cut to present day, post divorce.
Sis and I are renting a condo together and for nearly three years, we’ve been hitting up two Farmer’s Markets: Downtown Phx Farmer’s Market https://www.shopthefarmersmarket.org/ and the Peoria Farmer’s Market https://getlocalarizonaevents.com/saturdaymarket/. Every other week, between these two places, we get our produce and meat (for me, the non-vegan). We shop at WinCo for bulk items (rice, oatmeal, beans), and Sprouts, Whole Foods and Fry’s for staple items.
We can’t imagine not going to a Farmer’s Market now. We’re bougie like that.
We can’t imagine we’ve never gone before now.
We can’t understand why our parents have never gone before. Or now, for that matter.
And if you’re wondering why you should go, I’ll give you three good reasons:
REASON #3: It’s Not Just About The Food
Mostly. Right now it is because the markets are practicing social distancing by distancing vendor booths (which means not being at the capacity we’re used to seeing). Food vendors have been the ones showing out lately, but when the Market is hoppin’, they sit side by side with businesses selling their handmade wares and services: soap, candles, ceramics, baskets, etc. My mother hates to cook. It’s not a secret and to be honest, I hate to cook, too. At the Peoria Market a couple of months ago, Sis and I found a vendor https://madfreshkitchen.com/ that delivers healthy, ready-to-eat meals on a weekly basis all across the Valley. So, we got her a $100 gift certificate for Mother’s Day.
At another Market, Sis found handmade coin purses (see below) for me as a Christmas gift last year. Honestly, it’s a one-stop shop where you can find one-of-a-kind items.
REASON #2: Fresh Food, Produced Locally
Ever wonder why that plastic container of $5 spinach that you buy from the store never lasts more than a week? Because it’s being trucked over from another state-- over however many days--and then sits on the shelf—for however many days—until you buy it. Ever wonder why the fruit you see has a sticker on it from California, Mexico or Guate-FUCKING-mala? Because people want to eat fruit year round, so it’s either not grown in your region or it’s not seasonal. When you buy produce from your local Farmer’s Market, you’re eating fresh (more than likely picked that same week!)and seasonal. No pesticides and straight from a farm in your region. Not someone else’s.
Currently, it’s melon season here in Arizona and for the first time, Sis and I had fresh cantaloupe. It was the sweetest thing we’d ever tasted in our lives. It was so sweet, it was gone the following week. And we’ve been eating fresh, sweet strawberries for a couple of months now, too. Once you’ve had farm fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, spinach, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, grapes, oranges, grapefruit, lemons, strawberries, duck eggs, chicken eggs, grassfed beef, etc. you’ll never buy store bought again. I guarantee it. To find out what’s seasonal in your state, check out this guide.
THE #1 REASON: You’re Supporting Local!
I know where my produce and my meat come from. Do you? One of the many things I love about Farmer’s Markets is that you can talk to the farmers right there at their booth.
Want to know how they raise their chickens? You can ask them.
Want to know how they process their meat? You can ask them.
Want to know how they harvest their honey? You can ask them.
Want to know how they roast their coffee beans? You can ask them.
When you buy local, you’re putting your hard-earned dollars back into the local economy. These businesses become a trusted source and may not know their regulars by name, but they know them by face. I never thought I’d say this, but we actually have People. Between the two markets we visit, we have:
Now go out there, find your people, and become a localist.
Black goddess musings on life and becoming a sustainably-conscious human being.