Your Favorite Farmers Market
The Huffington Post has a piece today on the Top 10 Farmers Markets in the US. They have a pretty good list: Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, Savannah, Madison. But as with any Top 10 list, they miss quite a bit.
I remember as a kid growing up in Iowa when my grandmother would take us to a local farmer's barn. He would open it up and have it stocked with all kinds of seasonal produce. She would look it over and pick out the best tomatoes, cucumbers and corn. Then we'd head back to the little town of Carson where she lived and she would cook up the best food you ever ate.
New York City
I worked at the Union Square Market in New York City for a couple weekends when I was in culinary school. I had to get up at 2:30 in the morning and drive to an orchard in the mid-Hudson Valley, load the truck with apples, drive the truck down into Lower Manhattan and unload it...all by 7 a.m.
Then I would sell apples all day long. It was mid-winter and the temperature hovered between 15 and 20°F in the sun. We would load up the truck at the end of the day and do everything in reverse. I would get home around 11 at night.
I didn't last long at that job, but I did sell an apple once to Mikhail Baryshnikov.
The summer of 2001, I found myself in Minneapolis, MN. I also found myself in love with their farmers market. An incredible variety of produce, including a lot of hard-to-find vegetables at stands run by some of the city's substantial Asian population. And, of course, a ton of food stands selling all kinds of food on a stick.
My current town of Oakland, CA, has great market offerings too. Saturdays there is a wonderful spread near Lake Merritt by the Grand Lake Theater. All kinds of local produce is offered year-round. I always take the kids and teach them about farms and seasonality. There are tons of food carts. My favorite sells Afghani food and has a pumpkin-filled flatbread that is to die for.
If you miss Saturday, the market moves to Jack London Square on the waterfront on Sundays. Same offerings in a beautiful Bay setting. You can even rent kayaks and ply the Bay.
I suppose those are my favorite farmers market experiences. Why don't you share some of your own? If you don't have a favorite yet, check out LocalHarvest.org to find one near you.