Farmers Market Saturday

Erik, Mae, and I went to the Portland Farmers Market yesterday, along with one of their roommates, Eric.  We've decided to go every other Saturday while the market is open this year.  I imagine there will be times when one or none of us will want to go, but for now, it's been a wonderful way to spend a morning with them.  We start the day with coffee and a wonderful huevos rancheros from one of the food vendors, made with home-made tortillas, farm fresh eggs, three different kinds of beans, lots of fried veggies, and home-made salsas.  (Note to self:  must remember to take a picture next time prior to digging in.) 

The market should only get better as the season progresses, and there are more fresh fruits and veggies to choose from.  Yesterday's market had some beautiful rainbow chard,

radishes and baby bok choy (I have a great recipe for baby bok choy I'll share some time),

big, beautiful leeks, and farm fresh eggs.

The Farmers Market is not a place where one saves a lot of money, I'm realizing.  Most of this stuff is rather expensive.  Still, I'm not opposed to paying for food that is grown in a sustainable way, without pesticides or herbicides, and without treating animals inhumanely.  It is fresh and appetizing to look at, and I'm sure it's better for our innards than the stuff I get at our local grocery store.  I'm always careful to buy food that isn't trucked from the other side of the country, or flown in from places that are oceans away.  That kind of agriculture simply isn't sustainable.  Also, I like eating foods in season.  I can remember when it wasn't possible to find strawberries in December, which made them all the more delightful when they came along in May and June.  Some things are worth waiting for.

When I traveled in Italy about six years ago, I was impressed by the open air markets selling everything from meats and cheeses to fresh flowers and vegetables.

If I didn't know these images were snapped while I was in Umbertide, Italy (pronounced Oom-BEAR-tih-day), I'd think I was standing in downtown Portland at the time.  In countries where these markets are commonplace (in contrast to the big supermarkets we find in the United States), people often visit the market every day in order to feed themselves and their families.  When I visit the Farmers Market, I feel as if I am on the cusp of a world changing for the better, where people are returning to old ways of doing things because they are less damaging to our bodies and to our environment. 

I like the idea of supporting this kind of agriculture because I believe that if demand increases, supply will also increase, and prices will eventually come down.  I'm reminded of a quote I heard once in a documentary called Food, Inc. (worth seeing, if you haven't yet).  A farmer who was saddened by the way agriculture has changed in our country said something like:  Farmers need the consumer to tell them what they want, and I promise you, farmers will deliver.  (I didn't put it in quotation marks, because it's not an exact quote.)  It made an impression on me.  If it's low cost we want, then our food will be mass produced by corporations, and family farms will go the way of the Model T.  If we are willing to support sustainable farming practices--well, that will probably cost more.  How else are farmers to feed themselves and their families?  I don't mean to turn this into a frank political discussion--just one based on my own view of what is realistic.  You may or may not agree with me.  (Agreement isn't necessary for thoughtful discourse.)

In any case, I love the Farmers Market with its colorful products and people.  These flowers always make me smile.

And yesterday, they brought a smile to Mae's face too.

1 comments from clever and witty friends:

Anonymous said...

Beautiful! Wish I had a market close to me that had lovely veggies and flowers like those! I agree with you totally on the agriculture discussion. I think more people are getting back to scratching in the dirt around their homes, too, and growing at least a few tomatoes, etc to feed their families! Positive changes, I think. :)
Jacque in SC