Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Magic at the Market

Welcome to the August 2012 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Farmer's Markets

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama. This month our participants have written about something new they've learned about their local farmers.

There's something really special about farmers' markets. There's nothing like getting to meet and interact with the people who grow the food we buy. As a backyard gardener myself, I have really grown to personally appreciate everything that goes into caring for the plants and animals that become our food.

There's certainly a lot of work involved, from the planning and soil cultivation to the purchasing and starting seed. Then comes the planting, fertilizing, watering, weeding, and pruning, before eventually (hopefully) harvesting and finally: consuming.

But growing food is more than just work, more than a list of tasks. There's a great sense of responsibility about what goes into producing the things we fuel our bodies with. This is something I really love getting to experience when I go to the farmers' market: each person selling there is intimately acquainted with whatever her specialty is, be it garlic, goat cheese, hazelnuts, eggs, or fish. Each merchant is an expert on his product, and he's always happy to answer any questions I might have.

What's more, I've come to understand that there's a complex art to growing food. It takes a certain type of daring, creative person to choose to invest their livelihood in food production:

  • The man selling the organic, free range eggs has a personal relationship with his chickens—he knows what they do all day and what they most prefer to eat. He even knows which ones are the alphas who like to pick on the more timid ones.

  • The women selling bouquets know which flowers grew heartier this year because of the lack of rain, and which kinds will last the longest on your mother's dinner table. They pick from large buckets of fresh flowers one by one, working quickly right before your eyes to create the most beautiful, fragrant sculptures you'll ever see.

  • The teenagers working at the berry stand know how to pick out the most beautiful and appealing berries to place together in a flat, and they're proud of what they're selling. They're not shy about offering samples because they know—they know that once you've tasted just one you won't be able to walk away without buying at least a quart or two to take home with you (if they make it that far).

  • The father and son at the fish stand look tired because they've been up and out in their boat since dawn. They sell the day's catch from a cooler they brought with them straight from the dock. There's nothing much fresher than that!

Shopping at farmers' markets has definitely helped me to better appreciate the food I eat. It's helped me to be more conscious about the types of food operations I support with my patronage. It's encouraged me to be intentional about eating seasonally, preserving what I can during the growing season, and doing my best to not let anything go to waste.

Beyond that, though, for me there has always been something truly magical about wandering through the market taking in the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of a place that is so alive. There's just nothing quite so beautiful as experiencing the cycle of creation.

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon August 14 with all the carnival links.)

  • 10 Simple Ways to Make the Farmer's Market More Fun for Kids — Lorie at Reading Confetti shares ideas and books to help kids get the most from the farmers market experience.
  • 10 Things I Want To Teach My Daughter About The Importance of Shopping at the Farmer’s Market — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares the ten lessons she hopes to impart to her daughter about the importance of shopping at local farmers markets.
  • Charmed by Two Small Town Markets — Shannon at GrowingSlower was charmed by two small-town farmers markets while on vacation.
  • The Olympia Farmer's Market (and a giveaway!) — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes and family took a trip to their state capitol to experience a new market. See what they saw, and enter to win a book written about that very market.
  • — Exploring the farmers market by Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy writing at Natural Parents Network — with a scavenger hunt!
  • Exploring the Market ... Alphabet StyleThat Mama Gretchen is in the midst of creating a learning tool for her toddler and it's all about the market!
  • Unschooling at the Farmers Market — Megz at Aspen Mama loves building memories as a vendor at the Market.
  • Montessori-Inspired Vegetable Unit — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares links to Montessori-inspired vegetable printables and activities to help your family get the most out of a trip to the farmer’s market.
  • Markets — How sustainable mum has fitted a monthly farmers market into a weekly food shop.
  • The Farmers Market In Under An Hour ("Carl Style") — Andrea and family at Tales of Goodness adapt their farmers marketing approach to make everyone happy.
  • Tales Of a Troubled Gardener — Sam at Love Parenting writes about her dream of self-sufficiency and her lack of gardening skills!
  • A Few {Of The Many} Reasons Why I Love Our Farmer’s Market — Even though the experience can sometimes be less than peaceful, MomeeeZen shares why she enjoys taking her family to the Farmer's Market on Saturday mornings.
  • Experiencing the Farmer's Market from a Different Perspective — Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM had a great time letting her toddler lead the way at the farmer's market...
  • Ask A Farmer's Daughter — Abbie at Farmer's Daughter answers questions about her life growing up on a small family farm in New England.
  • Giving Up the Grocery Store — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling shares her family's summertime challenge to eliminate trips to the grocery store and rely almost exclusively on local, farm-fresh foods.
  • Urban farming and fresh food in the city — Lauren at Hobo Mama takes trips to farms, gardens, and markets within reach of a big city.
  • Market Tip: Get to Know Your Farmers — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger finally gets up the guts to talk to her farmers and learns she is among ardent food lovers.
  • New Farmer's Market Find — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is excited to make a new find at her new farmers market.
  • "The Real World" Grassroots Edition — jessica at instead of institution takes some time out to write a love note.
  • 9 Insider Tips for Farmer's Market Newbies — Dionna at Code Name: Mama chatted with a few farmers to bring you some insider information on how to get the most out of your local farmer's market.
  • The Place Where I Can Say "Yes!" — Erica at ChildOrganics gives you a tour of her favorite vendors at her local farmers market and discusses the benefits of creating community through the market.
  • Raw Local Milk — Jorje shares her family's field trip to a local dairy. Learn what you can appreciate from a small town farm at Momma Jorje.com.
  • Italian Secret Vegetable Soup Recipe — Alinka at Baby Web convinces an Italian Farmer & Cook to reveal a precious minestrone recipe and shares it with her readers.
  • Where do our eggs come from? A visit to Sucellus Farms. — Carli at One Fit Mom takes her family to meet the chickens that have been providing their daily eggs.
  • Beyond the Farm — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy and her family enjoy looking beyond the food at the local farmer's market to see the wares of the over vendors.
  • Magic at the Market — Do you ever take time to really look at the food you eat? Amy at Anktangle enjoys marveling at the beauty (and the utility) of the foods and goods available at the farmers' market.
  • Farmer's Market Discoveries — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen reminisces about the discoveries she's made at the Farmer's Market throughout the years.
  • Are You Getting the Most out of Your Farmers' Market? (My List of Not-So-Common "Musts") — Sheila at A Living Family shares some uncommon ways to squeeze even more joy and connection (and yumminess!) from your local farmers' market experience.
  • Pick Your Own And Eat It — Luschka from Diary of a First Child shares their trip to a PYO farm and the journey from picking to eating her favourite food


    1. I love the picture you've painted, it makes me want to walk through the market this week in an entirely different way - and I hope I can help convey it to Kieran!

    2. What a beautiful description Amy! It sure is magical to be able to experience the local markets through your eyes :)

    3. Yes! This is what makes me love the farmer's market. It's about the connections the farmers make with the food, and you make with the farmers. It's such an awesome place. I feel sad each year when the season comes to an end.

    4. It's such a different feeling to buy food directly from the person responsible for producing it, as opposed to the grocery store -- their enthusiasm, their knowledge, their personal connection with the customer...

      I think the food always tastes better when you know the story and the person/people behind it!

    5. This is so lovely! I'm glad you've gotten to know the people at your local market. I want to cultivate those relationships. There really is something so special about knowing the story and soul behind the food you're eating.

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