Our local farmer's market association has a slogan: Be a local hero. Buy Placer-grown.
It's quite an empowering message. I believe in spending money as local as possible, and living near an agricultural community means I can buy a lot of food that has been grown locally. I've mentioned before how much I love our farmer's market, but I find that I run hot and cold on going every Saturday. With our new and improved way of eating, I'm hoping to make the farmer's market a regular habit.
I realized last year while strolling the aisles of a craft fair that one of the reasons I run cold on the farmer's market is the same reason I'm not a big fan of craft fairs - it's a very intimate experience. When shopping at a craft fair or farmer's market, you are dealing directly with the supplier of the product. So when I choose not to buy something from a particular stand, I almost feel that I'm rejecting the supplier of the product. I'm sure I'm reading way too much into this exchange; I'm prone to over thinking. I just can't help it that I feel bad when I don't buy samosas from the friendly lady at the Indian food stand.
But I'm ready to move to the next level with the farmer's market. I'm making a commitment to go every Saturday. Armed with my cloth shopping bags and a twenty dollar bill (because that's my budget), I'm going to be a local hero. I'm also going to photograph what I bring home, because really the produce is so pretty that I can't help but take a picture. Here's my loot from the last two Saturdays.
Not pictured is the meat I bought from a local rancher (which happens to be a little out of my budget, but he's willing to barter on occasion for homebrew). After making my purchase last Saturday and getting tips on cooking beef stock from bones, the rancher gave me a hug. Yes, shopping at the farmer's market can be a very intimate experience. The rancher and I now have a standing date.
One more local tip (for my local friends): I highly recommend Lundberg rice pasta. We had spaghetti for dinner last night and I must have said "thank goodness" about ten times while eating. I was nervous about rice pasta, having had a not so good experience in the past, but I could hardly tell the difference between Lundberg rice spaghetti and traditional spaghetti noodles. It's local too - Lundberg Family Farms is less than 70 miles away. This local hero is going to stock up today while it's on sale at Raley's.