It’s that time of year, when we no longer need to depend on imported bananas from tropical climates or lettuce that’s been growing in Arizona next to baseball spring training camps to get fresh produce. This is peak season for asparagus, strawberries and snap-peas, and cruising into the bounty of blueberries, nectarines, peaches, plums and cherries.
Snap-peas (high in both vitamins A and C, as well as containing a healthy dose of fiber) and fresh berries make great between meal snacks for both moms and kids, and there’s almost nothing easier than snapping the ends off the pea pods and tossing a handful of blueberries (also high in vitamin C, as well as vitamin K) on my daughter’s plate to round out a healthy lunch.
I love the local farmer’s markets for so many reasons. First of all, when cruising around with a chic basket or colorful bag, it makes me feel European, and since the exchange rate with the Euro is so lousy, this is about as close as I’m going to get for a while.
But the best thing, of course, is the fresh food, followed closely by the laid-back, family friendly atmosphere. Most markets have live music as well as kid-oriented activities such as face-painting and balloon animal experts. Another great reason to shop your favorite farmers market regularly is that you’re developing a relationship with the people that grow your food–something tragically lost when you go to the supermarket and buy grapes flown in from Chile. The neighborhood farmers market is the easiest, yet one of the biggest, ways to focus on eating local food.
When visiting the new San Ramon/Bishop Ranch Farmers Market my friend, daughter, and I enjoyed fresh fruit as a mid-morning snack with our coffee, and then took part in the music with a lively Cajun Band. Both the San Ramon Market, as well as the Danville Market and both Walnut Creek markets on Locust Street and in Shadelands Business Park have prepared foods as well, including Kettle Corn (a delicious and strangely addictive treat!) and crepes.
Check out the websites for participating vendors, scope out your list, then do a complete lap and see what’s available. Now that the sunshine is finally here, you can get out and enjoy the farmers market and locally grown food!