I Don’t Understand Farmers’ Markets

I’m a child of grocery stores. Aisles of carefully displayed high fructose corn syrupy cereals, boxes of mac and cheese, rows of produce with “ripe” stickers in technicolor neons.

I’m also a child of a very “green” area, (my home town is Seattle) with tons of wonderful farmer’s market. I’ve seen rows of shellfish recently plucked from the brine, stacks of weird looking star fuits and piles of GREEN vegetables.

I love the idea of grabbing my fabric shopping bag, locally sourced from hemp, or something. Putting on my chaco sandals or my vibrams, giving my children kombucha in sippy cups and heading to the farmers market on a brisk Saturday morning. Scratch that, I live in Missouri. A sweaty and not quite yet really hot Saturday morning. Still.

Here’s my problem. I don’t understand farmers markets.

In Seattle, all the stalls took credit/debit cards, because it’s Seattle, home of going green AND technology. I think if your credit card machine went down in Seattle, the patrons would probably just be able to re-code it for you, and get it running again so they could get home with their apricots and make jam.

I adore the idea of buying fresh fruit and produce, but I’m stumped by several farmer’s market related issues.

My first problem: Where do I find the farmers markets? I always see signs for them, with cryptic hours and addresses, but when I drive there, I can never find them. “Oh yeah, the Overland Park farmers market, across the street from Dean and Deluca!” Sure. Is that the McDonalds parking lot then? Or perhaps the Basement of Crate and Barrel?!

They seem to spring up, fully formed, from the ground like a sprout, and then dissapear before I can find them and garner nutrients from their lovely stalls.

Then, when I do find one, what do I buy? What IS dinosaur kale? And does anyone on earth know how to cook a rutabaga?

Once I’ve found something I recognize and therefore know how to cook, how do I pay for it? Does anyone on earth write checks anymore? Does anyone even know how to cash them? Do I take cash? Do they? Where at the Amish pasture fed butter table do I swipe my visa?!

I really do love the idea of farmers markets, and all that they stand for. Buying locally grown, organic food is such a wonderful idea. I want to meet people who grow food. I want to shake the hand of the man that personally slaughtered the cow I’m going to eat.

But I seriously don’t understand farmers markets.

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About Jennifer James

I'm a full time mom who works full time. I'm a painter, a dreamer, and a believer that the most feminist thing you can do is adore your femininity. I say what I think, when it's appropriate for sharing. I write when I feel like I have something to say. I love always.

8 thoughts on “I Don’t Understand Farmers’ Markets

  1. This is what I use to find farmer’s markets: http://apps.ams.usda.gov/FarmersMarkets/

    It might not have them all, but I think it’s pretty helpful. Also, someone I went to high school helped design that site.

    I don’t know about Missouri, but the Farmer’s Market in B-ham and the one in Santa Barbara (and I’m guessing any pretty big one) had a stand at the entrance where you could use your credit/debit cards to buy $5 tokens that the stands took and gave cash back as change.

    I love Farmer’s Markets. The one in Santa Barbara had a whole aisle consisting of just different stands selling cheese. My dream come true.

  2. The token idea is totally awesome. I feel like that in order to get the hang of farmers markets you need to go with an insider who knows the drill. It’s like a club. A healthy, early morning club!

  3. Checks, cards, and cash are all welcome at Farmer’s Markets! Also, the fun thing about weird farmer’s market veggies is to try them. During the summer, we try a new veggie every week. I take it home, look up a recipe, and give it a whirl. It’s fun!

  4. I am heading down to the Bellingham Farmer’s Market soon. The weather is a bit overcast at the moment, so we won’t be facing the heat that you have to deal with.

    I used to have a problem actually buying things at the market – all of the produce was so beautiful but I either didn’t know what to do with it or knew that I could buy it cheaper somewhere else. So this year I have instituted a $5 “fee” for whenever I visit the market. I have to spend the $5 on produce – not a treat or lunch. That way I am supporting the farmers and trying something new. I don’t force myself to buy all of our produce for the week, just a sample that I can learn to enjoy.

    I am picking up my first “Bunny Box” CSA from the cutest vendor at the market.

    I hope that you find your market soon! And that they open early enough in the day to beat the heat!

  5. City Market downtown is where it’s at. The farmers market part is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays. I will totally take you there. This week, if you want. They also have great ethnic restaurants in the plaza on the perimeter of the farmers market. Email me at Hannah dot Rebekah at att dot net :0)

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