I Love Farmers’ Markets- What About You?
Growing up in Romania back in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, I was used to always shop for fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers market.
It was a way of life. We couldn’t buy fresh produce anywhere else during the summer and canning these fruits and vegetables for winter was crucial for survival.
We did not have supermarkets back in the day, so we relied a lot on the products we were able to find at the farmers market.
Things changed now in Romania, when the supermarkets are everywhere and products come from all over the world, the entire year.
However, most people still shop at the farmers’ market because it is way cheaper than supermarkets, the fruits and vegetables are mostly local, mostly organic and very fresh.
I especially love the Farmers’ Market in the Fall. There are so many items to choose from and so many opportunities to can fruits and vegetables for the winter.
What can you find in Romanian Farmers’ Markets?
People sell lots of things! Vegetables, fruit, nuts, bread, honey, fresh eggs, cheese, milk or flowers. You can also buy fresh or cured meats.
There are many choices and very affordable for everyone.
Cabbage is usually sold in massive quantities in the fall, as many people like to make sauerkraut from scratch. There is nothing better than Cabbage rolls to make in the winter before Christmas. This dish is popular and very traditional for the holidays.
Apples, plums, pears, grapes and quince are also among the most popular fruits in the fall here.
Nothing better than freshly sqeezed grape juice, right?
When are farmers’ markets open in Romania?
The farmers’ markets in Romania are open 6 or 7 days a week, from very early in the morning to late at night, therefore it is easy for everyone to take a trip to the market whenever they need.
Most people go shopping over the weekends, as they have more time. Many people though, choose to go during the week.
What can I make with the vegetables I bought at the farmers’ market?
You can make anything with what you bought!
For example you can make Zacusca, a vegetable spread made with fire roasted eggplants and peppers, onions and tomatoes. This spread is canned for the winter and enjoyed during the cold season on slices of fresh bread, with cheese and cold cuts.
As you can see, there are enough eggplants to choose for this recipe.
How many farmers’ markets does Bucharest have?
Only Bucharest, for example, has 60 Farmers’ Markets for almost 2 million people who live in that city.
Quite a lot, don’t you think? Basically, every neighborhood has one.
The great thing is that the concept of farmers market hasn’t changed a bit over the years. It remained a little gem, a place to shop and explore.
There are thousands of markets around Romania waiting for their locals or tourists to come and enjoy the produce.
Since I moved to US, I miss the traditional farmers’ market I grew up with back home. The ones that we have in Minnesota are open only four or five hours on Saturdays, which makes it difficult for a lot of people to go.
One of the reasons Minnesota does not have as many farmers’ markets is because the growing season is quite short here, and even if the farmers markets improved over the years, I still noticed a lack of interest among the population.
People still prefer to go to the grocery store, instead of visiting the market.
What if the farmers market would be open at least few days a week for longer hours? Would you go?
Why are farmers’ markets so important for a community?
The truth is that these green markets do more than supply colorful fruit and vegetables.
They reflect and shape the culture of the place, reinforcing the community spirit and connecting us to the people who grow the food we feed our families.
And that, by extension, inspires us to be better cooks.
In an age when convenience is valued over sustainability and community, we tend to forget what food really is, something that was alive and had to grow.
What better way to know the origins of your food, how it was produced and who produced it than visiting a farmers’ market and asking men and women who actually grow or make the goods?
I also believe that it is important that farmers markets make the most of what their region has to offer and support local farmers instead of shipping in items from larger producers.
Experiencing local products and learning where they come from, tasting and developing an appreciation for them makes cooking and eating more enjoyable.
Visiting a farmers’ market with your children teaches them where their food comes from. You can also create a menu for your week based on what is in season that week.
By purchasing your goods directly from the people who grow it, you’re supporting family farms. You also help to guarantee that more money stays in your community. You also ensure that food is grown sustainably and not in mass.
Look at these beautiful cold cuts, smoked meats and sausages!
Can you even imagine the smell of these beauties?
So, what are three reasons to shop at a farmers’ market or support your local farmers?
1. It’s good for the environment. Less fuel and oil are consumed since the food doesn’t need to be transported from other parts of the country.
2. It’s good for you. Local produce is usually fresher and tastes much better.
3. It’s good for the community. You’re supporting a local business and helping the economy.
And let’s face it, just the experience of visiting a farmers’ market is rewarding.
How beautiful are these flowers?
Farmers’ markets are one of the oldest forms of direct marketing by small farmers, so why not bring them to more urban communities?
This way, everyone would enjoy a better variety of organic foods, pasture-raised meats, free-range eggs and poultry, handmade farmstead cheeses and so forth.
I don’t know about you, but I just love the farmers markets and I cannot wait for spring to come and enjoy my Saturday mornings shopping for fresh organic vegetables all summer long!
What about you? Do you have a Farmers’ Market where you live?