Last Saturday my entire family was out and about doing errands in an unfamiliar part of town when we passed a farmers market. We made a note of it and on the way home stopped there for lunch and groceries. We were so glad we did.
This market was much larger than the farmers markets closer to my home that I usually frequent. While it was tougher to keep track of my kids (I was very glad my husband was with me), there was plenty to love among the aisles and aisles of vendors. In addition to tons of beautiful produce, there was honey and freshly squeezed juices, tamales and hummus, natural meats and fresh fish, flowers and potted plants, bread and pastries. There were eggs, $6 for 30 ($2.40 a dozen, about half of what I normally pay). I bought 60. When we passed a musician playing a James Taylor-esque version of "Up on the Roof," one of my 5yo's favorite songs, my son looked at me and immediately put his hand out for a dollar to put in the hat. It was like we were meant to be there.
Most important of all, there were tomatoes. Ripe, red, and juicy. Despite the high price tag, I bought more than a pound each of tomatoes still on the vine as well as uber-sweet cherry tomatoes. My husband looked at my purchase and said, "What are you thinking? Go back and buy at least two more pounds of those cherry tomatoes." The kids and we ate almost all those cherry tomatoes walking through the stalls of the market. Our first fresh tomatoes of the season.
A few days later when The 2013 Dirty Dozen™ came out, I realized how much less attention I pay to it now than when I first started going green. I mean, I still pay attention because it's news (which is why I wrote a post about it last week). But I no longer print up the list and stick it on the fridge, or type the complete list into Excel and then print it out in a tiny font so that I can carry the list with me at all times in my wallet. I no longer agonize over whether I should substitute Clean Fifteen™ produce from distant lands for local Dirty Dozen™ produce while standing in the grocery store with a cart full of small children. And that's because I now shop for almost all my produce through my farmers market and my CSA, which allows me to purchase nearly all of our fruits and vegetables pesticide-free. And for that, I feel very lucky.
How to Shop Local, in Season, and Pesticide-free without Even Trying
As I've said before, farmers markets take all the calculation and effort out of shopping local and in season. Much of the time, they also take all the effort out of shopping pesticide- and GMO-free. Farmers markets are often the most affordable way to buy pesticide-free produce.