Saturday, June 19, 2010

Top Three Lessons for Shopping at a Farmer's Market

On Saturday, my daughter, grandkids, and I took our first trip to the Midland Downtown Farmer's Market. Here are the top three things I learned while there.

Cucumbers, eggplant, and beets1. Be friendly.
Everyone is super friendly, even by Texas standards! But I was especially thrilled to see in person Seiko and Hoven of Milagro Farms in Ft. Stockton, Texas.

You see, we had already "met" in a manner of speaking, hanging around some of the same like-minded circles on Facebook, and then friending one another too. From their photos, I've been following along as they've transformed their West Texas family plot with beautiful cacti and rows and rows of healthy food. A photo of Seiko behind a rototiller is quite something to see.

Next time they are in Odessa, Hoven wants us to show them around our thrift stores and I want him to look at the insulation in my attic to see what he'd recommend. You know, real friends and friendly stuff.

Wildflower and mesquite honey2. Bring that extra $20.
I'd suggest you bring a little extra money because you never know what you'll find there that you have been desperately wanting.

Me, I had been searching for locally grown honey for ages. I almost kissed Dave and Marta when I saw their Golden Bouquet Honey. For more than thirty years their bees have been working local wildflowers and mesquite blooms. When offered taste samples, I tried both. They really do taste different! Wildflower honey is robust, rich, whereas the mesquite is delicate and fragrant. Clever bees.

Actually, I wish I had brought two extra $20s, one for each flavor. (It will come as no surprise to my regular blog followers that I went with wildflower honey. $19.50 for a colossal-size jar.)

Red potatoes and garlic3. Next time, arrive at 9 a.m. sharp.
The expression "farm fresh" is truly meaningful at a Farmer's Market. The freshest things sell out, even more so if it is the first time they are available. And sad as it might be for tardy buyers, you gotta be glad hard-working folks are succeeding so splendidly.

On the far right is Matt Hanson, aka "Farmer Matt," founder and visionary of MDFM. Currently, he is scouting for even more local farmers to meet the area's growing interest and excitement for local foods. He also invites you hobby gardeners with extra to sell to contact him. And it's not just veggies and fruits, y'all. He's looking for other kinds of local producers, like those who can provide meat, cheese, milk, and eggs for example. Or bakery items, salsas. Anything yummy. If you make it, they will come.

Some of what I boughtLastly, I thought you might like to see my reusable produce bag filled with colorful bounty from its inaugural field use. Another Farmer's Market tidbit I observed: most everyone brings their own bags, but in case you forget it's no problem. Everyone there has plenty plastic bags -- don't we all -- saved and brought to use.

A big thanks to Farmer Matt and all the Wonderful Vendors! I'm sorry I couldn't get around to everyone's table to see, smell, and tout your wonderful wares, but rest assured I'll be back for more wholesome goodness.


Bobbie said...

Wonderful experience for you. I love farmer's markets when they are done right. I found out about another one that happens on Saturdays that we need to check out.

Bev said...

Sounds like you had a great time at a great farmer's market. Lots of variety on offer that you just don't get in the supermarkets.

Aunti said...

Debs! Nice article! Too bad the Farmers here just don't have a clue! LOL

jomamma said...

There used to be a guy in Gardendale who sold honey. That was many years ago, when I was giving away blackeyed peas and okra out there. People would often tell me to take my stuff to a Farmer's Market, but at the time there were none. It was more fun to just put up a sign and say "pick your own", I should have named the place The Pick Your Own Pea Patch!

Lucky Dip Lisa said...

You are so inspiring Debi! I've never been to our local farmers markets but I definately should!

Maya said...

Great tips! We were late last weekend and Charles the bread man was out of bread! Boo Hoo.

Also, we have some of those bags and they marvel at them here. I think we could do a good business selling them!