What is it about a farmers’ market that keeps bringing you back? Is it the appreciation of knowing someone has dedicated their life to provide fresh food directly from their cultivated source; what about the visceral excitement of walking from booth to booth observing the colorful spreads and friendly faces; or is it simply because the food smells and tastes better? Whatever your reason is, farmers’ markets offer many benefits to their farmers, customers, and the environment but the key factor that continues to drive excitement and expansion is unequivocally, taste.
Too often we rely on packaged and processed foods in our grocery stores and restaurants, only to realize that these foods come from an industry carefully engineered to feed the masses. Designed to travel far distances, much of it is picked while still unripe and then gassed to “ripen” it after transport, or it is highly processed in factories using preservatives, irradiation, and other means to keep it stable for transport and sale (CUESA). Food that is locally sourced is grown to taste as good as possible – ensuring that the food is harvested at its peak nutritional value because it does not have to travel extraordinary distances to reach its consumer (UVM).
“[…] eating food made from local produce and using traditional production methods, significantly changed the perception of the food.”
Whenever I go out to eat I’m constantly on the lookout for restaurants that have a farm to table menu. There’s something reassuring about looking on their menu or wall and seeing a list of ingredients that are sourced directly from local farms. One, I know that the restaurant cares about the quality of food they serve their customers and two, locally sourced ingredients are better for the environment – it’s a win-win! While taste is obviously huge when it comes to food, we are approaching an age where making food more sustainable is taking a front seat. Chefs are focusing on using native ingredients and working with local farmers to reduce food miles, while opting for more plant-based menus and ensuring they use sustainable fish (Forbes, 2019).
So, give your taste buds a treat and check your local restaurants for a farm to table menu – they’ll thank you for it 🙂