Farmers Market Is More Than Just Fresh
Not a whole lot of people in today's modern world have pulled a carrot from the ground, brushed off the dirt, and taken a bite. There's a lot more people who really don't like vegetables as a result. Fresh fruits and vegetables, that are harvested not green, but ripened on the tree, vine, or plant, carry a great deal more flavor, aroma, color, nutrition, and texture than the relatively bland produce that is available in most supermarkets. Produce that has a short route from farm to table doesn't need to be gassed, irradiated, waxed, or otherwise treated to give it a longer shelf life.
It is an art to grow produce out of season. It's a lot easier to deliver it in season, and the produce shines its brightest at this time. Spring asparagus or peas, summer corn, or autumn pumpkins are so delicious that they can easily go from being a side dish to entree. Their fragrance, color, flavor, and texture are incomparable.
The choice of small scale family farm over big agribusiness is a happy side effect of this choice. Keeping the money local is the obvious advantage. Big agribusiness feeds a lot of people, and that is a great and noble thing, but the potential food quality has suffered down to a cultural level.
Most of the US won't eat a misshapen or mottled tomato, a weirdly colored carrot, or a strangely shaped squash. They're largely unaware of what vegetables actually should look like in their natural state, unaware of the existence of wild types, or heirloom varieties, as big agribusiness has made carrots all of the same size and shape, tomatoes are perfect red globes, and squash are the familiar yellow elongated variety. In addition, the shorter travel time from the local farm to one's table saves a lot of fuel cost. That's the tip of the iceberg of the environmental benefits.
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