Monday, July 14, 2008

Farmers' Markets

Spring is definitely in the air, and I attended the opening day of the Norwich Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning, despite the rain. It’s the first farmers’ market of the season, to my knowledge, and the Norwich Farmers’ Market is the grand daddy of farmers’ markets in this area; the envy of many towns around. Rightfully so, as the blend of farmers, craftsmen, food vendors, cheese makers, bread bakers and clothing producers makes for a large variety of products, all locally made, from which to choose.

I picked up locally raised, grass-fed meats from ground beef to beef sirloin tips, some beautiful inch thick pork chops (Back Beyond Farm in Tunbridge), and some garlic-beef sausage (Cloudland Farm in Pomfret). Organic eggs were plentiful as well as a large variety of local lettuces from arugula to romaine to leaf lettuce. I also got some organic spinach and Swiss chard just out of the ground from Kevin and Laura Channel of Your Farm (Fairlee). Can’t get any fresher than that!

And to top things off, the cows’ milk blue cheese from Woodcock Farm Cheese Company, made with two different molds, one for the blue-veined interior and a second for the golden-colored washed rind, is rich and creamy with a distinctive bite. Woodcock Farm is a sheeps’ milk cheese producer, so finding a cows’ milk cheese from them is unusual.

Finding unique, to say nothing of delicious, artisan-produced products is part of the lure and fun of farmers’ markets. And you can talk with the producers themselves, who can give you details as to how the food is produced. In today’s world of massive food recalls, poisoned products from abroad, bio-engineered seeds and plants, growth hormone and antibiotic injected meat animals, industrially produced processed foodstuffs, and on and on, being able to meet the producer and talk with them as to the details of how their products are made is HUGH! If you are interested in not only good, tasty food, but also good nutrition and good health, go to farmers’ markets and stock up. Plus it helps the area economy by keeping local dollars circulating locally. It’s a win-win for everyone.

The Vital Communities website ( lists 26 farmers’ markets including the Bradford Farmers’ Market, the Piermont Farmers’ Market, and ones in Hanover, Lebanon and Norwich. I thought I saw something about a Wells River-Woodsville farmers’ market starting up, and more and more are popping up all over. It’s a very healthy sign and more than welcome trend. We’re starting to realize that our health and well being is being threatened by the industrialized and globally commercialized food conglomerates with their chemically processed food products that are marketed to us as convenience foods so we can live an easier life. And a shorter one…

But enough editorializing, I encourage you to take control of your eating and visit local farmers’ markets and farm stands. It’s a chance to get outside, talk with local artisans, see your friends and neighbors, catch up on the news, and make new acquaintances. I can hardly wait until next Saturday already

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