The sky is blue, the sun is bright and there’s a gentle breeze blowing. Scores of people casually walk up and down the closed-off road, armed with reusable bags and little carts. Dozens of farmers, bakers, florists and other miscellaneous vendors occupy the canopy tents that line both sides of the street. Kids run around with colorful balloon animals, and families crowd around the buzzing honey stand. The sweet smells of tacos, fresh flowers and kettle corn flood the air. I am standing in the middle of the road, taking it all in. Surrounded by people chatting, laughing and walking hand in hand, I feel completely calm and content. My mom, busy examining the produce at a nearby stall, suddenly calls my name. Snapped out of my daze, I rush over and happily join her with a smile — there is no place I would rather be.
Vibrant, bustling, peaceful and warm — the first few words that come to mind when I think of my memories of the farmers market. Now more than ever, I long for the feeling of going to an outdoor farmers market. Growing up, many Saturdays of my childhood were characterized by trips to the local farmers market. I loved hopping from stall to stall, looking at what fruits and vegetables were being sold. I loved the nice apple lady and her family, who always supplied us with the sweetest and crunchiest apples. I loved the tough-looking grandma and her husband, who always had my favorite vegetables and the yummiest sweet potatoes. And the best part of it all? The amazing tacos and burritos, kettle corn and baked goods that we’d always end our trip with.
Here in this little hub of life, farmers and small businesses from all over California bring their lovingly grown produce and carefully created homemade goods for consumers to purchase directly. As an outdoor environment where we can interact and connect with our local farmers, there is something quite special about the farmers market experience. Not only do you get to access the freshest fruits and vegetables of the season and support family farms, but buying groceries at the farmers market is also a wonderful way to protect the environment. Food produced via conventional agriculture utilizes a lot of resources, undergoes extensive packaging and processing and travels great lengths just to reach our plates. On the other hand, small farms often employ sustainable, environmentally friendly farming practices that minimize their impact on the Earth!
Although it’s been awhile since I last visited the farmers market of my childhood, my memories of it and its impact on my life have not been small. From the quality of locally sourced produce to the significance of sustainable farming, I’ve learned to appreciate the importance of what a farmers market allows for and its position as a vital part of our community. So, this Earth Day, I encourage you to plan your next post-quarantine grocery trip to the farmers market. A place where you can get your favorite fruits and vegetables completely fresh, support local farms and do your part to protect the Earth? Three cheers for our farmers markets, they really do it all!
Contact Kristie Lin at [email protected].