I don't think the words "grocery shopping," "fun," or "inspiring" are often used in close proximity, except maybe if you are a chef. I would be more likely to describe it as "a necessary chore," "tiring," "overwhelming," and "confusing;" especially "confusing" as I start to pay attention more to what I am eating, when I am eating it and what kind of quality it is.
I now realize big chain grocery stores do not reflect the seasons in their produce nor the reality of what food in its natural state looks like (apples are not shiny and waxy when pulled from a tree, potatoes don't come sliced frozen in a plastic bag). Sure, a lot of packaged food is easier to prepare and you can get ripe tomatoes in December, but there are costs associated with this convenience; costs that begin with eaters being totally removed from and unaware of the cycles of earth and how a bean stalk springs from the soil.
This bothers me; it is so basic.
Since starting work with Dan on Saturdays, the first half of my day is often spent at the Auburn Farmers Market. I love this market! It is built from a kind and diverse agri-community that is dedicated to feeding neighbors and pursuing the physically demanding agrarian lifestyle.
Every week is different at the farmers market. I have been there in the cold, snow and rain this winter. This past Saturday it was still chilly, but also sunny with the promise of warmth to come. The sun brings many more customers out to the market as well as more vendors. This past week there were vendors selling citrus, vegetables, mushrooms, cheese, fish, strawberries and emu chapstick! Dan and I were selling lamb stew meat and "polar bear fur" (according to the local 8 years olds) aka sheepskins. It is surprising to see what can be grown and created locally. It is also surprising to me to see so many of the same patrons at the market each week, regardless of the weather. These folks are making the local food movement possible, by voting for local economies with their own hard-earned $$.
Where else but a farmers market can you meet and ask questions of the actual people who are getting dirty to bring food to their communities? It is direct access to those who are involved in one of the most fundamental aspects of human survival - food.
If you are in the area Saturday April 23rd, Dan will be doing a sheep shearing demonstration at the market. Come by and check it out!
Here are some fun and inspiring pictures of grocery shopping at the farmers market last Saturday.