The farmers market near me is great. It’s not fancy. It’s not big. In fact, it’s a pretty small gathering… but it’s growing.
Every Saturday, I shove myself out of bed in the wee hours (usually after a late night of eating) of the morn to get to the Parkville Farmers Market. Why? Well, mostly to get there before the Jay (and/or sometimes Carol and her daughter) people sell out of organic chickens and eggs… or before they randomly drive off in their huge truck with the Campo Lindo Farms label on its side (this happens more often than not).
Last week, I got there and the truck drove off just as I was approaching their stand. This week, I got their extra early, and I was told that they weren’t coming. *Grumble*
But, organic chickens and eggs aren’t the only things motivating me to make the journey. Indeed, I’ve made friends with a lot of the farmers there. Debbie and Jim Crum of Crum’s Heirlooms (they were written up in the July issue of Bon Appetit and given a special nod by Michael Bauer, the restaurant critic of the San Francisco Chronicle) are ever-faithful – hauling their famous organically-grown heirloom tomatoes, a patchworks of golds, reds, and oranges, from nearby Edwardsville, Kansas. Their radishes, turnips, corn and onions are also highlights. They’re great people to know as well – down to earth, funny, and just as hospitable as can be.
There’s Jacque Smith of Green Dirt Farm with her freezer chest full (not organically certified, but all naturally-raised) of lamb and sheep products. Chops, loins, hearts, and liver, you can get it all. I’m especially excited to hear that she’ll be starting up a dairy production – and possibly cheesemaking soon!
There’s Carole, the watermelon lady – who always reminds me that her Sugar Babies are in tip-top shape. There’s the man selling tube roses, his long-stemmed white-topped flowers perfuming the market with a sweet, but not cloyingly so, scent that reminds me of the tropics.
And, on the way home from the market (just a short 10 min. drive), I stop by the local market, to pick up Shatto Milk Company milk – bottled in environmentally friendly glass bottles just thirty miles to the north, near Cameron, Missouri. Their Holsteins are 100% hormone, rbST, and rbGH-free. They go just beyond whole, 2%, 1%, skin, half-and-half, and cream. They’ve got chocolate milk, strawberry milk, banana milk, and eggnog during the holidays.
It might take a little extra planning for me to “buy local,” but it’s what most of the world does. I love it. I don’t need my eggs flown in from Alabama, my corn shipped from Nebraska, or my milk over-nighted from those happy cows out in California. I can get them all right here, just 10 miles down the road every weekend. Plus, I enjoy the weekly communal time with those who work the land that surrounds me, and quite frankly, escapes me during the office-bound busy work week. Hurrah for the small farmers!