Yesterday afternoon, we visited a nearby farm market for pumpkins, which is one of our favorite autumn traditions. This year’s excursion didn’t disappoint: rows and rows of pumpkins and fresh produce and the smell of fresh pressed apple cider and fried cakes in the air. Both of us sampled a cup of the sweet, delicious cider; what a treat! Kids played on the hay bales and wandered the maze while parents shopped for late season mums and lined up for those fried cakes. Big box grocery stores certainly can’t duplicate the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes from a trip to a farm market in the fall.
OK, so grocery stores do decorate, offer pumpkins and fried cakes and cider, and many offer local produce when in season. I can’t fault them for that. It’s the generic experience of shopping at a chain that feels so impersonal. When you patronize a farm market, you’re buying directly from the farmer who grew your pumpkin — and your food. You establish a connection, however temporary, and there’s something to be said for that. Farm markets celebrate the interdependence of the human experience.
Farm market proponents will also tell you that buying produce grown by farmers in your own region substantially reduces gasoline consumption and air pollution from truck exhaust released during transit from farm to consumer. Buying local pours money back into your area’s economy, as well. Doesn’t that create a meaningful sense of community? There’s nothing personal or rewarding about buying honey collected from Argentinian bees, at least not for me. Give me honey harvested by a local beekeeper any day. It tastes like home.