The weather this summer has officially crossed the line into absurd – when I’m pulling a bag of meaty pasta sauce out of the freezer to heat up for dinner instead of the big summer salad I had originally planned because it feels more like October outside than July, something is clearly amiss. It’s affecting everyone, but no one more, I’m sure, than the farmers who grow the majority of the food Mike and I buy. While I’ve all but given up on getting much yield from our sad little waterlogged container garden, I am very aware that it’s a relatively minor loss. I can’t imagine being in a position where our very livelihood is threatened by this bad weather and the resulting damage to crops.
So while I put together our very non-seasonal dinner last night, I got to thinking about how much easier, in some respects, it would be to go back to only shopping at the supermarket, with its year-round, consistent supply of whatever you want, whenever you want it, food that tastes the same in January or June. But easy doesn’t hold the same appeal for me that it used to. I get so much joy out of visiting our farmers’ markets, talking to the people who grow the food that we’re cooking and eating, that I can’t imagine going back to the way I used to shop.
The selfish part of me doesn’t want to lose out on the connection and sense of community I feel when I visit a farmers’ market. The (very, very) grateful part of me thinks that it’s more important than ever to support our local farmers during what could be a difficult season for them. I usually try not to be preachy, but I suspect I am going to have a much more difficult time holding my tongue when I hear people complaining about how much things cost at the farmers’ markets. This year has been very hard for us financially, but I think Mike and I both agree that as long as we are able to, we will still happily pay a premium for that quart of berries, head of lettuce, or juicy heirloom tomato, knowing that in doing so, we’re not just feeding ourselves something fresher and better than what the supermarket sells, but that our food dollars are going back into the local economy.