Have you ever met someone who doesn’t like the farmer’s market? I haven’t. Or at least I don’t think I have.
I’ve never run across a super vocal anti-farmer’s market person ranting about how they “just can’t stand all the fresh foods being sold at the market.” I mean, does that person even exist?
There is something incredibly fulfilling about strolling down the makeshift aisles, vendors on every side standing behind tables overflowing with brightly colored fruits and vegetables.
As I walk from table to table, I actually feel like a healthier version of myself. When I pick up the produce and a fresh loaf of bread, something registers in my brain that says “this is very good.” It’s like my body is absorbing the nutrients by osmosis.
The farmer’s market with its fresh flowers, homemade cleaning supplies, baked goods, locally sourced proteins, crafts and more – makes me feel, simply put, happy.
All of this started me thinking – Why not shop this way all of the time?
It doesn’t have to be reserved for the select Saturdays when we can make it to the market. Does it? In other countries, families go to the market multiple times a week to pick fresh foods to be consumed over the course of a day or two. Just because I’ve always grocery shopped a certain way, doesn’t mean I have to continue shopping that way. Honestly, when I look at the amount of money we spend on groceries monthly and see the amount of waste each week, I realize the way we are currently shopping isn’t really working for us. I create weekly menus and we eat leftovers, but I still constantly throw food away.
What if instead of doing a big corporate grocery trip once a week, I begin shopping at small markets specializing in local goods?
Thankfully, in our small Tennessee town that isn’t hard to do.
Recently, a store opened just down the road from our home. This brick and mortar market sells locally sourced, organic foods. It’s like a year-round farmer’s market just minutes from my house. Our town also is fortunate to have an Amish Country Market with homemade cinnamon rolls, Amish rolled butter, mouthwatering chicken salad and more. And to top it off, the farmer’s market in our town runs from spring through the beginning of winter.
We live in the perfect place for me to try this grand experiment. I have just begun and am loving it. I have gone to the market down the road almost every day this week to purchase fresh vegetables and other food for the day – and we are actually eating what I’m buying. I made spaghetti the first night, and the second night transformed the leftovers into chili with a side dish of locally supplied cornbread. Tonight, I am using the rest of the fresh bread I purchased yesterday to make breakfast for dinner. We are having French toast, bacon from the Amish mart and sliced peaches.
I am giddy about it.
My husband and I decided once a month we will go to Costco for our bulk dry goods and for organic meats that can be frozen, and the rest will hopefully be purchased multiple times a week from one of these stores. In the longterm, I would like to begin riding a bike with a basket to these stores, instead of driving, as long as the weather permits.
I have been keeping record of what we spend and am interested to see what the difference in our grocery spending will be over the course of time. Hopefully, we will see a decrease in cost and in waste over the next weeks. I am also happy to not be driving as far to the grocery. I may be going more frequently, but the stores are just minutes from our home.
This may last weeks, months or years – but my hope is it will last a lifetime. There are so many things I do because they are the things I have always done, and I don’t want to live my life just going through the motions. For me and my family, this is one more step toward mindful, intentional, healthier living. And the great part is it doesn’t just benefit us as individuals. It benefits our local merchants and farmers, the environment and ultimately is a more sustainable way of living.