There is nothing quite like wandering around a genuine Farmers Market being surrounding by the sights, sounds, colors and particularly the aromatic smells of fresh food. Buskers playing weird and exotic musical instruments, children walking around devouring food they might refuse to eat at home, shopping bags bursting at the seams full of strange looking food being carried by ambitious and hopeful cooks.
People dressed from the most fashionable clothes to hippies, elderly citizens, mums and dads, families, couples, children - a kaleidoscope of color, movement and life. I have seen food offered not seen in supermarkets or shops, delicacies of the finest offerings. Living as I do in rural Australia I have a first hand appreciation of the value offered to everyone involved.
These fresh vegetables are fantastic to use in a Farmers Market Recipe
Growers get the opportunity to obtain a price for their goods that is fair and reasonable.
They see first hand the customers response to their goods, pricing, stall and business prowess and can make adjustments as required. E.g. stop growing produce that doesn't sell or alternatively grow more of produce that is in greater demand. It also gets the farmer off the farm and into town for the day - I am sure they love that!
I believe these days remind consumers that the food they eat is actually processed from start to finish by another person, a person who has a face, name, family etc. The bonds between town, city and country are therefore strengthened.
It certainly encourages the producers to provide organically or environmentally beneficially grown food as that is what the consumer is looking to buy and expecting to find at the market.
The food is driven from nearby farms, not airlifted half way across the world on Jumbo Jets - just the reduction in the use of aviation fuel is an obvious benefit to the environment.
It's very low overheads for the Farmer, the prices of the stalls are specifically set so as to encourage the Farmer to attend. A great opportunity for Farmers to get to see what others are producing and how they are 'adding value' to their produce.
Well, we get to wander around with our calico shopping bags and buy some of the most exotic produce in the world. We take home locally grown and normally naturally or organically grown food which just has to be healthier for us.
Normally we save money as well, and can often buy in bulk. The food is fresh, not weeks or even days old. You can often find food still glistening with the early morning country dew.
Certainly living in the country I am more than aware of the fact that the day of the Farmers Market is quite an event in town. Most of the locals know the market is on and go there for their own shopping as it is just so cheap and the quality is superb. It's certainly always a very friendly tourist location to take friends from out of town.
There is a certain buzz of excitement as visitors from other districts arrive which increases the towns population and helps provide income for the local shops as well as the market.
Fund raising efforts seem to take place such as raffle ticket selling for the local school etc. I always seem to be donating money and / or buying tickets for some charity or another on these days.
It does increase casual employment for the day as stall holders need extra staff to help out. Our local voluntary Emergency Rescue Service organize the logistics for public parking. They get paid for that service by the Organizing Committee, this certainly helps out with their annual fund raising.<p>
The effect of these days is far and wide. Tourists take food back to the city, bills get paid, wages are earned, charities benefit from donations, the environment benefits as well.
This is a photo of my weekly vegetable and fruit shop at the local market. If you look VERY carefully you can see the rear of our horse in the back of the photo - head down grazing.