Greetings & Salutations!
Between planning my 2 year old’s supposedly ‘small’ birthday celebration and my hubby’s 40th birthday surprise party, time to sensibly shop for sustainably needed produce got the best of me leaving my fruit baskets and vegetable drawers bare. So this past Sunday I decided to visit my nearby State Farmer’s Market in Forest Park for some good ol’ locally grown, farm fresh produce! But here’s the thing, when I go to this particular market I tend to feel overwhelmed with all the vendor choices up and down the various driving aisles. How am I to decide the best price and produce without going to every single one?!?
With this market I have noticed a Mexican vibe that has grown considerably. I’m loving this primarily because Mexican food is slowly but surely taking over as my favorite food. All those hard to find culinary items for your fiesta can be found here, definitely. But I digress.
In my search for the best local produce, I drive up and down each aisle twice. Then depending on the offering, I pick the best aisle for my needs, park the car and begin to peruse. One vendor only sells by the case- not having a party anytime soon- I move on. Then I come upon what I think is the jackpot. But I start noticing that the packaging of the ‘locally grown’ produce is similar to the packaging found in chain grocery stores…hmmm. And right then, when the bunch of asparagus catches my eye, I see it. The purple rubber band making these green spears a bunch reads: Product of Peru. WTH?!?! Becoming a bit irritated, I immediately move on to the next, but notice this similar disappointment among many of the vendors.
Then I realize, that’s it! This is how I will select the vendors I buy from- I will inspect to ensure no commercial packaging or out-of-state/country labels are associated with my produce! And luckily there are a few like that in this market. When approaching one, I converse with the farmer. Asking everything from where the farm is located to their opinion of what the harvest looks like for the next season.
How did I make out? Let’s just say I had a wonderful learning experience that deliciously filled the bellies of my family! Hope this helps!
Make it a Great Market Tasting Day!