Food For The Soul
I have always loved going to farmers markets, but the last two years, my weekly visits to buy freshly harvested vegetables have taken on a whole additional level of significance for me. That’s because the market vendor I am buying my freshly harvested, chemical-free vegetables from is Blue Heron Community Farm, a Wisconsin farm started two and half years ago by my hard working daughter and son-in-law.
I have learned more about how to grow and choose healthy food in the last few years than I ever knew was possible. To walk the fields with the farmers who are growing your food and to see first hand how food can be grown without herbicides and pesticides (but with a lot of hard, manual labor) has helped me to connect with the source of my food in a way that no trip to a grocery store ever will.
I recently read that there are over 8,000 farmers markets in the United States each summer, and that this number is increasing rapidly. What is it that people are longing for that accounts for the growing popularity of these markets? I can think of at least three reasons.
The first is community. Farmers markets are communal by nature. They bring together producers of various kinds (vegetable farmers, growers of flowers, organic meat producers, bakers, local artisans, musicians, and more) and at the same time they bring together the local community. Part of the fun of going to a farmers market is running into neighbors and friends. Since the beginning of time, food has brought people together as it is grown, gathered, cooked, and shared with others.
I think a second reason we love farmers markets is that, as the saying goes, “They are keeping it real.” Most of the produce offered at farmers markets is like my daughter and son-in-law’s in that it is grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. In a world where much of our food is processed and filled with artificial ingredients, it is all the more appealing and important to purchase and eat food that is produced the same way it has been produced for hundreds of years. Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food, Cooked, and The Omnivore’s Dilemna captures this perfectly when he suggests, “Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food.”
The final reason that I love farmers markets is because they directly connect me with the source of the food I am eating. When I buy my produce from the grocery store, I don’t have that same direct connection to the farmer and the land where the food is grown. In thanksgiving for all those who make healthy food possible I find another quote from Michael Pollan to be appropriate, “Whenever possible, shake the hand that feeds you.”
Spirituality is central to my life, and so I do many things to practice and nurture my spiritual life. It occurs to me as I write about what I love about farmers markets, that I am describing what, for me, are three cornerstones of spirituality: community, “keeping it real,” and connecting with the source from which all life comes. It’s no wonder I love farmers markets so much!
If you haven’t visited a market yet this summer, you still have time to support your local farmers and other artisans, and your own well-being all at the same time.
You can learn more about Blue Heron Community Farm at their website HERE.
Great photos of their produce can be found by visiting and liking their Facebook page HERE.
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