Hot Finds at Indiana Farmers Markets
June 12, 2017
I have a treasured summer ritual that satisfies my love of adventure, sense of community and desire to enjoy the freshest, healthiest foods possible: Indiana’s farmers markets.
Sound silly? When was the last time you visited a farmers market? Gone are the days of wilted veggies and over-ripe fruit. Today’s farmers markets boast beautiful produce such as heirloom tomatoes, Japanese radishes, fresh lettuces, corn, and all kinds of berries (blueberries are coming in now!)
Farmers markets are more than fruits and veggies. You can find eggs from free-range chickens, farm-raised pork, beef, poultry, and sometimes rabbit or bison. There’s also honey, herbs, juices, home-made breads, pastries ad noodles. (The Amish make incredible cinnamon rolls and pies!) Even the food truck craze is spreading to farmers markets. And why not? It’s all about fresh food made locally. You can’t get more local than a farmers market.
Some farmers markets allow street performers. I’ve enjoyed seniors with accordions, kids with violins and hipsters with ukuleles. Don’t forget to take a few bucks for tips!
Here are other reasons why you should make visiting Indiana’s farmers markets a new summertime ritual.
1. Taste Real Flavors
The fruits and vegetables at the farmers market are the freshest and tastiest available. Fruits are allowed to ripen fully in the field and are brought directly to you—no long-distance shipping, no gassing to simulate the ripening process, no sitting for weeks in storage. This food is as real as it gets and tastes great!
2. Be Surprised by the Season
You never know what you’ll find from week to week as everything in seasonal. Think tender lettuces and asparagus in spring, sweet corn and watermelons in summer, pumpkins and apples in the fall. It reminds us how each season brings new flavors to our palates and delights to our plates.
3. Family Farmers
Buying directly from family farmers is the right thing to do. Your support gives them a better return for their produce and enables them to compete in today’s globalized economy. It’s a fair trade as you enjoy the freshest and most flavorful products.
4. Variety Is the Spice of Life
You’ll find an amazing array of produce that you don’t see in your average supermarket: red, purple and yellow carrots, heirloom tomatoes, purple cauliflower, watermelon radishes, chili peppers of all kinds, mushrooms, jams and jellies, and much more. Make a habit of trying something new each week.
5. Support Humane Treatment of Animals
Small farmers typically have more “hands on” interaction with their livestock and take a personal interest in their care and wellbeing. Often their cattle, pigs, chickens, and other livestock have been raised in open fields or spacious coops rather than cramped spaces like factory farms. These animals have enjoyed green grass, the freedom to move at will and a more peaceful existence. Some people say they can taste the difference. I just like knowing the animals were treated with respect.
6. Know Where Your Food Comes From
This is a big one for me. Often we have no idea where the food we buy in supermarkets comes from. Visit a farmers market and you know exactly who raised or made everything. And since they are working their stands, they can answer any questions you have about their products. I’ve found farmers to be a wealth of knowledge on what they sell, including great recipes!!
7. Connect with Community
Coming to a local farmers market makes shopping a pleasure rather than a chore. It’s also a great place to meet friends, bring children, or just get a taste of small-town life in the midst of busy city lives. Visit your local farmers market or, if you’re feeling adventurous, visit a market in another Indiana city or two. You’ll likely be surprised at what you find wherever you go.
Here’s a link to a site that features all Indiana farmers markets. I hope you enjoy your adventure as much as me and my colleagues at RN & Allied Specialties do.