It’s true. I love the idea of farmers’ markets: local food, local folks, supporting the local economy, community gatherings, live music, mingling, sunshine, open air, chatting, fresh food, baked goods, use of town green space or something similar. They embody some strong preservation and community ideals.
What could possibly be wrong with a farmers’ market?
I’ll let you in on a secret because, let’s face it, no one is perfect, preservationist or not. As the post title tells: I get overwhelmed at farmers’ markets, and I always have.
How is that possible, you ask? You live in Vermont, that’s ridiculous, you say. You’re a preservationist who is always talking about local economy, you say.
I know, I know!*
Here’s how. As I am not much of a cook, or at least an organized cook who is capable of planning meals, I tend to wander around a farmers’ market and wind up the full circle later, having no idea what to buy. I can smile and chat with the artists, admire their work, hold a cup of coffee, eat prepared food, enjoy the live music, be neighborly, but produce, meat and other stands? Unless I want berries or just a few tomatoes, I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I don’t even know what some of the vegetables are, and I’m a healthy eater. And unless it’s produce that I know, I’m skeptical of prices. Despite what we think and hope, not everything is less expensive at a farmers’ market (add that to my list of pet peeves).
After wandering around for some time, I end up frazzled and heading home with very little produce. Let’s not even talk about buying meat. That’s many steps ahead, despite the fact that local meat is important to me. And then I feel guilty for not doing more very local shopping! But I don’t know how to improve. So it’s really just the same cycle over and over.
There is where you might tease me mercilessly, or offer some helpful advice. I can handle both.
Of course, there are probably simple solutions, like talking to the farmers, etc. And there are more complicated solutions like learning to plan meals. Bring on the solutions.
My point in sharing this is to a) share a weakness I have as a preservationist and b) to tell you that by the end of the summer I will successfully shop at a farmers’ market for a week’s worth of produce & meat, rather than the grocery store. At least, I’ll do my very best. Expect it to take all summer. I’ll report back to you.
And now it’s your turn to offer your own confession, whether you are a preservationist or not.
*P.S. I live in Vermont and I’ve never once been skiing. How’s that to confuse you?!