Out and About: Marietta Square Farmers Market

Shipping is a terrible thing to do to vegetables. They probably get jet-lagged, just like people. – Elizabeth Berry
Saturday, we ventured out to the Marietta Square Farmers Market. It was a true feast for the senses. We had the best time strolling past the various tents bursting with fresh produce, yummy samples and smiling vendors. Despite the 90-degree temperature, everyone seemed to be in good spirits. Passerbys chatted about their shopping lists for that evening’s dinner, touched and smelled the beautiful produce and even sipped on Callan’s fresh squeezed lemonade.
Just walking through the market gave us a great sense of pride, a sense of belonging. It was so nice to actually shake the hand of the farmer that grew your food. The local market gives you something a big box grocer never will, the human connection.
Where else can you listen to a young lady hammer away on a fiddle while you shop? You are not only getting a higher quality, more personal product, you are getting the experience. And that my friends, comes free of charge.
This whole experience got me thinking…why should we buy local? I happened upon a great site that had lots of answers.

Eating local means more for the local economy.  According to a study by the New Economics Foundation in London, a dollar spent locally generates twice as much income for the local economy.  When businesses are not owned locally, money leaves the community at every transaction.
Locally grown produce is fresher.  While produce that is purchased in the supermarket or a big-box store has been in transit or cold-stored for days or weeks, produce that you purchase at your local farmer’s market has often been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.  This freshness not only affects the taste of your food, but the nutritional value which declines with time.

Supporting local providers supports responsible land development.  When you buy local, you give those with local open space – farms and pastures – an economic reason to stay open and undeveloped.
Local food just plain tastes better.  Ever tried a tomato that was picked within 24 hours?  ‘Nuff said.

Locally grown fruits and vegetables have longer to ripen.  Because the produce will be handled less, locally grown fruit does not have to be “rugged” or to stand up to the rigors of shipping.  This means that you are going to be getting peaches so ripe that they fall apart as you eat them, figs that would have been smashed to bits if they were sold using traditional methods, and melons that were allowed to ripen until the last possible minute on the vine.

Buying local food keeps us in touch with the seasons.  By eating with the seasons, we are eating foods when they are at their peak taste, are the most abundant, and the least expensive.

Buying locally grown food is fodder for a wonderful story.  Whether it’s the farmer who brings local apples to market or the baker who makes local bread, knowing part of the story about your food is such a powerful part of enjoying a meal.
Local food translates to more variety.  When a farmer is producing food that will not travel a long distance, will have a shorter shelf life, and does not have a high-yield demand, the farmer is free to try small crops of various fruits and vegetables that would probably never make it to a large supermarket.  Supermarkets are interested in selling “Name brand” fruit: Romaine Lettuce, Red Delicious Apples, Russet Potatoes.  Local producers often play with their crops from year to year, trying out Little Gem Lettuce, Senshu Apples, and Chieftain Potatoes.
Photos by: KHJ & CMJ
We managed to leave the Farmers Market with a few goodies of our own: yellow crooked neck squash, a white bush scallop squash, a bag of the most delicious Georgia peaches, Emily G’s Jalapeno Raspberry Jam and great big bouquet of bright zinnias and sunflowers. 
I smile each time I walk into the kitchen and see the beautiful flowers and smell the sweet, tenderness of the peaches ripening on the counter. I am already counting down the days until our next market visit.

Posted 7/27/10, Topic: Blog

  • Katie Hollingsworth
    July 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm |

    Don't forget that eating local is also better for the environment! Less distance traveled equals less fuel used for transport!

  • Wendy
    July 28, 2010 at 3:28 pm |

    Looks like a great farmers market! Wonderful pictures! Thanks for your visit today and I so appreciate your advice on the washer!! Hope you're having a wonderful day 🙂

  • Chelsea Hansen
    July 30, 2010 at 11:28 am |

    This post has been removed by the author.

  • Chelsea Hansen
    July 30, 2010 at 11:29 am |

    ooops…I hit delete 🙂 I said:

    Great pictures! We are so lucky to have SO many farmer's market's here. There's one almost everyday in the little sub-cities all around downtown. I haven't been to the one in Hillcrest (where we live) and this makes me want to go! Thanks for the reminder. I know where I'll be this Sunday 🙂

  • Natalie at Our Old Southern House
    August 3, 2010 at 11:32 pm |

    you should come to the suwanee farmers market–that's where we sell!! (well, we're replanting the garden, so a few more weeks 'til we start again.) 🙂
    do they have zocalo salsas there? they have them in suwanee and a few other farmers markets in the metro-area…they are FABULOUS!

  • {BlueEyedYonder}
    August 4, 2010 at 8:46 am |

    Natalie – I recognize the name Zocalo, but don't remember if they were there or not. I will have to look for it next time. One of my favorites is the jalapeño pesto from Hope's Garden. The last two weeks I stopped by their stand they were sold out. Boo!

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