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market chef
market chef

It seems lately, that more and more we are hearing that we should eat in season and buy locally grown produce. What is the difference between apples bought at the farmers' market from Stan Devoto grown in Sebastopol and harvested in September and apples from an anonymous apple grower in Washington State bought in the grocery store in May? Have you ever done a taste test? There is a big disparity of flavors here. The apple grown locally has been allowed to fully ripen on the tree and was picked a few days before you eat it. The apple from out of state was picked long before its sugars were even thinking about maturing and it may have been in cold storage for up to a year. There is a strong flavor factor at work here. That local apple is going to blow your mind with its taste. The other one is going to be discarded after a couple bites. We all know that produce starts to lose nutrition when it is picked so ultimately the sooner it gets into our bodies to fuel our muscles and brains, the better for us.

When you eat grapes in January or February or even December, you are eating grapes from Chile. When you eat Strawberries in the winter they are coming up from Mexico. Do you realize that they still use pesticides that have been banned in the US? Have you ever eaten the tomatoes from the grocery store in the winter? Not so great. How about the heirlooms in season from the farmers market? Tasting the first strawberries coming out of Watsonville in May? How about the first Brentwood corn and peaches? The seasonal foods we wait for and anticipate the first bites of... these are the ones we remember long after the season is over and wait for with bated breath because we know what they will taste like in season, bought from a local grower at the farmers market.

There are a lot of reasons to get out to the farmers' market. When you buy local you are voting with your food dollars. This does not go by unnoticed by people that care where you spend your money. You are saying that fresh, organic, seasonal, locally grown and small farms are important to you.

When you buy locally grown and produced food, that is in season you are saying that you do not want incredible amounts of fossil fuels and energy being wasted on transporting food from other states and other countries. We have the best produce in the world grown within a hundred miles of our homes.

In California over the years, voters have said that we do not want pesticides and herbicides on our food, putting the health of farm workers at risk and contaminating our drinking water. We have voted to make living and working conditions better for our farmers and migrant farm workers and we have set a standard that is exclusive to California.

With the number of farmers' markets that we have here in Northern California and the Bay Area, (over 60) we have the best of local, seasonal eating at our fingertips almost every day of the week. As the shopper and buyer for your family you have the most influence on teaching them to eat fresh, local, unprocessed food. Teach them well. Take advantage of the best and get out to your local farmers' market. We have a gold mine here!


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