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Seven Reasons to Add a Farmers' Market Visit to Your Itinerary

Seven Reasons to Add a Farmers' Market Visit to Your Itinerary

I'm passionate about feeding my family high quality food. At its very essence, we are what we eat. Our health is directly affected! Organic produce, non-CAFO meat and minimally processed foods dominate my grocery list.

Cooking, however, is the bane of my existence. In my sixteen year tenure of being an at-home mom, I have learned to embrace it. Reluctantly. I even get in the mood to create something new on occasion. But you'll never see recipes on my blog. And if you list recipes on your blog, I'll give them a passing glance--usually accompanied by a wish that someone would prepare that yummy concoction for me.

With cooking being a chore, it may puzzle you that a visit to a local farmers' market is a "must" when traveling with my family. We’re on vacation, after all. Who wants to cook?

Open-air stalls of beautifully presented fruits and vegetables, enthusiastic farmers and inspired shoppers entice me. But these markets offer the traveler much more than tables of produce.

© Depositphotos/bdspn74
© Depositphotos/bdspn74

Taste the pink flesh of a dragon fruit.

By virtue of being completely out of our home environment, we open ourselves up to new possibilities. Sampling a new fruit is a joy--even for kids! Lychees, dragonfruit, and rambutan wowed my kids with their bold colors, funky shapes and interesting flavors during our recent trip to Hawaii. You don't have to travel far, however, to enjoy sampling interesting foods. That spirit of trying something new can accompany you wherever you go.

It all starts with a conversation.

Local farmers and food producers don't just provide samples and information on their practices, they offer the opportunity to get to know a local in a small way. Rubbing shoulders with fellow shoppers can foster such a connection as well. Happenstance conversations have great possibilities!

Sometimes it means you walk away from the market with a new way to prepare a food. What could we do with pea shoots, we wondered. At the suggestion of a farmer, we placed our steaming hot filets of fish on a bed of them. Voila! A delicious entree we wouldn't have come up with ourselves. On other occasions, we have learned about off-the-beaten path restaurants, hikes, beaches and new tips for touring the local area. What a bonus!

© Depositphotos/boggy22
© Depositphotos/boggy22

The buck stops here. Your questions about ingredients and safe practices answered!

As a mother of a child with celiac disease and a food allergy, specialty foods are a big draw. Homemade salsas, spicy sausages, fresh baked breads, artisan cheeses and loose leaf teas, there's so much to try!

The big bonus? I can talk directly to the person who made the salsa or roasted the Macadamia nuts to find out if their ingredients and practices are safe. My peanut-allergic son tried Macadamia nut brittle, a product normally loaded with peanuts! He sampled chocolate bars made by a local farmer who personally oversees this process from beans to final product. This is an opportunity unsurpassed for a person with serious food restrictions.

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