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America’s Next Farmers Market Star?

August 6th, 2009 · 4 Comments

foodie tot at the marketThe Foodie Tot is not the only one excited about the opportunity to profess his love for the markets during National Farmers Market Week. There are not one but two separate online contests underway asking voters to chose their favorite farmers market. To me, that’s like asking a parent to name their favorite child. Sure, there are markets I adore (see: Oregon travelogues ‘08 and ‘09) that truly have it all — wide array of organic-certified products, cooking demos, kid-friendly activities, transparent management and communication — but the obligation of eating locally requires one to support the markets in your neighborhood, and there are things we love about each of them besides the simple matter of proximity and convenience. There are two farmers markets here in Alexandria that are between our house and the nearest grocery stores, so it is even harder to justify passing up the market in favor of flavorless supermarket produce. We love Bigg Riggs’ array of apples and peaches, Kuhn’s sweet berries and plums, Three Way Farm’s luscious melons, Smith Meadows’ grass-fed beef and handmade pastas, Tom’s cave-aged cheddar, Grace’s pumpkin loaf, and many more products and producers from across the region.

The Farmers Market Coalition, who notes that the number of farmers markets in the U.S. has increased by 170% in the past 10 years, recently asked “Why do you love your farmers market?” My response: “Because my son knows his cheesemaker, his apple growers, and his meat producers by name.”

I’ve written before about the many lessons kids can learn by shopping at the market, but the most important is an understanding and appreciation of where their food comes from. We certainly don’t have time to go to the farm every week, and together my son and I can’t even manage to keep an herb pot alive, so we will drag ourselves out rain or shine to support the farmers who wake up before dawn, after a hard week of manual labor, to truck their wares into town.

America's Favorite Farmers MarketsI do support any effort that makes people more aware of their neighborhood farmers markets, so go to the Care2/LocalHarvest contest (where the winning market receives $5,000) and the American Farmland Trust contest (winning markets get free No Farms No Food tote bags) to vote for your favorite markets, if you can choose just one. Of course you can share the love and vote for different markets in each, if you like. (The Care2 poll is open until Sept. 17, but the AFT contest ends at midnight this Saturday, August 8, so vote today!)

Don’t Forget! Submit a photo of your tot(s) at the market to the Foodie Tots <3 Farmers Markets Flickr pool during the week (August 2-9) and you’ll have a chance to win a kid-sized reusable market tote filled with foodie goodies. bigg riggs peachesFor an extra entry into the drawing, blog about your local farmers market with a link back to this post &/or retweet a link to the “Foodie Tots <3 Farmers Markets” contest. More bonus points for sharing why you love your farmers market.

P.S. Today’s market stop was the Upper King Street Market, for ground buffalo meat from Cibola (burgers coming up soon), Shlagel raspberries, Bigg Riggs peaches, Tom’s yogurt, and a muffin and fresh-squeezed orange juice (er, not exactly local) for an afternoon snack.

And it’s Real Food Wednesday, so head over to the round up at Kelly the Kitchen Kop for more real, local food ideas and inspiration.

Tags: at market · food for thought · NoVA Locavore · proteins

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 DCBlogs » DC Blogs Noted // Aug 7, 2009 at 12:02 am

    […] Foodie Tots loves our local farmers’ markets. But pick a favorite? Impossible! America’s Next Farmers Market Star? […]

  • 2 Melissa Graham // Aug 12, 2009 at 12:10 am

    Great blog. I’m happy to have discovered it.

    I absolutely agree with you regarding the importance of family visits to farmers markets. I run a Chicago-based non-profit that is dedicated to bringing families back to the table by promoting and enjoying all the things associated with good eating, eating that’s good for our bodies and the planet. A major piece of our summer programming is our tour to various Chicagoland farmers’ markets where we organize hand-on cooking projects with market produce. It’s so gratifying when a child will try a fruit or vegetable that they would never have considered eating before because we present it in a fun and engaging manner.

    If you have a moment, check out our website,

    Thanks and I look forward to reading more.

  • 3 » Blog Archive » At the Fairfax County Farmers Markets: Ready-to-Eat // Aug 19, 2009 at 12:17 am

    […] I don’t know if you’ve heard me mention it, but last week was National Farmers Market Week. Unfortunately I didn’t top last year’s personal record of five markets during the […]

  • 4 Children's toys // Dec 3, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    A well researched site, I’ll link to it from my site thanks