By: Chrysa Smith
There are more and more of them.
You have probably shopped at them this summer. And you’re probably reeling the visits back in, prepping for colder weather.But I say carry on. Because more and more farmer’s markets are becoming more and more year-round.
Now granted, the abundance of summer produce is undeniable. I myself am a summer fruit gal. Come fall, my fruit intake drops to distantly grown grapes and little more, because like you, I so dislike pale attempts at good ripe fruit. Farmer’s markets and sustainable agricultural folks have made their name, in large part, on the fact that their food comes from within a 100 mile radius. That proves great for a few months of the year. But what about the rest? What about those of us who actually have a winter?
Well, I know here in PA, more and more greenhouse and hydroponic farms have popped up, allowing for fresher produce year round. New agricultural techniques have extended the growing season, giving us better, fresher veggies much longer. So recently, I saw an ad for a farmer’s market in New Jersey. It is in Stockton, a cute town plunked right on the Delaware River. Mostly known for it’s excellent wine store, the number of vendors seemed surprisingly large, so I dragged my husband over the river for a look-see. Much to my surprise, it was indoors. They took what was a small, abandoned grocery store and re-purposed it. Now, it contains a variety of farmer’s stand like vendors, housed in one weatherproof dwelling.
If you’re familiar with the Reading Terminal Market or the Italian Market in Philly, it’s a scaled down version. But it’s close. No train. No parking fees. But it does put locally grown produce, eggs at your fingertips. Locally-made pasta, chocolates, crepes and cookies in your shopping bag. And it does it all without processing, unpronounceable ingredients and other factors that make so many of us walk away from food labels more and more.
If you’re near the river, take a trip over to the Stockton Farmer’s Market, open Fri-Sun. And if you’re not, take a check of your state’s Dept of Agriculture website or Google ‘farmer’s markets in……….’ and see if you can’t find some similar markets that make the case for fresh foods year-round.