Rooted In Wonder:
Nurturing Your Family's Faith Through God's Creation
Master Naturalist, Bible teacher, author, wife, and mama of four! Join our adventures of discovering God while adventuring in creation.
Shopping at the farmers’ market was not easy for me; not at first, and it did not feel natural. It was a very different shopping experience than I was used to. I was used to walking down sterile aisles with too many options of too many processed foods, and next to no interaction with another human being besides offering my answer to “Paper or plastic?”
My first visits to the farmers’ market were uncomfortable. I had to humble myself again and again to ask questions, and practice interacting with other people while shopping until it became second nature. And then there was the produce.
I had no idea what most of it was, let alone how to choose which was best, how to store it once I got home, and then how in the world to cook it! Everything in me wanted to reach for what I was familiar with. Broccoli. Strawberries. Onions. Garlic. And those were good, of course, but it was only by branching out and reaching for new unfamiliar ingredients that I began to discover a whole new world of food. It came with time, and it took intentionally becoming familiar with the farmers’ market.
Maybe you have been there, too. You arrive at the market mid-morning, only to find it already a buzz. Families stroll along, corralling children munching on freshly baked cookies; dogs stretching their leashes tight to sniff each passer-by.
And then there are those ladies. You know the ones. They have come prepared. They march onward through the crowd, graceful yet determined, and they carry along fabric tote bags, or maybe even a small metal cart overflowing with fresh produce of varieties you’ve never seen before, let alone cooked with. They know what they are doing. They are seasoned farmers’ market shoppers.
These first experiences at a farmers’ market can be a bit intimidating. Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to prepare yourself to shop at the farmers’ market with confidence. I will expound on those practical steps next week, but before we look at them, I want to share with you one very important element to being comfortable at the farmers’ market: You need to embrace and celebrate its inconsistency!
Having a plan for shopping at the farmers’ market can prove a bit more difficult than at a conventional grocery store. This is because what is available at the market changes from week to week.
While regular grocers strive to provide customers with a consistent supply of the same food items for every visit year-round, at the farmers’ market you will find a consistently different supply of ingredients each week. Instead of seeing this as a downfall of the market, I see it as one of the great things to celebrate about the market; it teaches me to cook and eat in harmony with the seasons!
I appreciate that the variety, flavors, and colors of the market are changing all the time. I love the wide range of greens decorating the early spring market; fragile fresh herbs and countless varieties of salad greens laying next to sturdy spears of asparagus.
And then as bright colors begin to crop up among the vendor’s tables, I know that Summer is just around the corner! Before you know it you are met at the market by bright yellow, red, orange, purple, and green peppers, along with perfectly plump, ripe tomatoes of red, orange, yellow and green. Summer at the market is breathtaking.
And then fall comes, and you fall in love all over again. Tomatoes slowly phase out and make room for autumn colors of beige, orange, deep red and brown. Gourds. Pumpkins. Squash. Onions. Garlic.
During different times of the season the market may be more or less plentiful, but it is never lacking something fresh, beautiful, and delicious to put on the dinner table that evening.
The ever-changing ingredients of the market teach me to appreciate what each season offers. It teaches me that I can’t always have what I want, and that I’d better venture to try something new! Shopping, cooking, and eating seasonally challenges me to get to know unfamiliar, unsung ingredients that I would have otherwise passed up at the grocery store.
Shopping at the farmers’ market takes work. But at the end of the year, if you have employed your mind, hands, and heart to engage with new and astonishing ingredients, you can look back over the farmers’ market season and see a beautiful spread of artful meals representing the seasons.
You will experience ingenuity in your own kitchen. You will look back over a bountiful season of new favorite ingredients, bodies nourished, souls warmed, and farmers you now call friends. You will gain a whole new appreciation for the change of seasons, and you’ll cook eloquently right along with nature in harmony with those changes; from spring onions and spinach, to beans and peppers, to squash and pumpkins.
When you choose to embrace the constantly changing farmers’ market, rather than becoming frustrated by its ever transforming supply of ingredients, you will find yourself much more confident shopping there; which in turn will give you a much greater appreciation for shopping and cooking seasonally.
Now that you’re prepared to celebrate the inconsistencies at the farmers’ market, stay tuned next week as I’ll share a few simple and practical steps for shopping with confidence at the market!
Raising kids stirs something deep in our souls — an innate knowing that our time is finite. Taking my kids outside in creation, I’m discovering how to stretch our time and pack it to the brim with meaning. God’s creativity provides the riches of resources for teaching the next generation who He is and how He loves us. Join our adventure and discover inspiration and resources for refusing rush, creating habits of rest, living intentionally, and making the most of this beautiful life!