Dot’s Reading Room: Farmers’ Markets Offer Fresh Food and Community Connections

One of my fond childhood memories is of going with my mother on a Saturday morning to the Raleigh, NC farmer’s market.  I’m not sure whether we called it a “farmer’s market” at the time.  It took place in a cavernous warehouse, always delightfully cool on a torrid Raleigh morning, and I especially delighted in the fish vendors’ stalls and their gleaming wares.  On other days we shopped at the precursor of the supermarket, the local “Piggly Wiggly, a small neighborhood store with limited stock.” (I didn’t encounter a supermarket until my early teens.)

An interesting piece in “The Conversation,” focuses on farmers markets across the U.S. by two professors from the University of Wisconsin who write: “Farmers’ markets are growing their role as essential sources of healthy food for rich and poor.”

In their review of the role farmers’ markets have played during the pandemic, Professor Alfonso Morales and Assistant Professor Edna Ledesma, say that “For many Americans, buying fresh local food at one of the estimated 9,000 farmers markets across the U.S. is one of summer’s pleasures.

Farmers’ markets aren’t just nice amenities. Over the past 18 months, many have filled food supply gaps caused by covid-19 shutdowns.

While numerous farmers’ markets shut down at the start of the pandemic, many soon reopened under state or local guidelines that mandated masks, social distancing, and other precautions…. In fact, many farmers’ markets enjoyed their strongest-ever sales in 2020.

Affluent shoppers became more interested in buying local food, while lower-income buyers were able to use federal benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.” This last is an important development because for many years recipients of SNAP benefits did not have access to many fresh fruits and vegetables.

To read the article and see photos of markets from Seattle’s Pike Place to local farm stands, click https://tinyurl.com/jtxfnsfx.  Or click the image below to discover Massachusetts Farmers Markets!

 


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Merrell
1 year ago

A great insight into family history; previously unknown! No wonder the pleasures of the table are deeply ingrained with me. Supermarkets have untold variety (mostly unnecessary) and yes, offer convenience, but are usually an unsatisfying experience at best and largely unhealthy.

Summer farmers markets and stands are wonderful. Why can’t we invest in year’round markets, following the traditions of Europe and South America? Not only do they directly support the producers, they are a great entertainment, visually plus a gustatory treat. A great way to repurpose any large and outmoded buildings in Bedford?

Jerry Wolf
Jerry Wolf
1 year ago

One of the closer farmers’ markets to Bedford is in Lexington, whose location is incorrect in the reference given at the end of the article. Its location is no longer in Fletcher Park, but on Worthen Road, next to the LHS Field House. For details, see the LFM website: https://www.lexingtonfarmersmarket.org/ .

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