When I was a child, we had a weekly Saturday morning trip to the West Side Market. I was never quite sure how the tradition started, but I am inclined to believe that my Grandmother Francesca started it all. She came to the United States from Poland at the age of 19 from Poland. She lived a good part of her life in what was known as the Southside, now known in the Cleveland area as Tremont, and she cooked everything from scratch–pierogies, stuffed cabbage, beef borscht, and more. She liked blood sausage, and she was a good cook! A staple on our Saturday trips was fresh baked rye bread which we got to sample in the car on the way home. It was thought that the West Side Market in Cleveland was cheaper than the grocery stores, and, when my father could not have his hands and tools in the dirt in our backyard garden, this was the source for fruits and vegetables.
Today, I prefer local farm markets all year, which in Oberlin where I live that is the case. I am in the process of learning to eat seasonally–to eat what is produced locally in each season. It is a total shift in eating because bananas will be rare since we do not grow bananas in Ohio. There are other examples as well. But this is a healthy way to eat, and it is also a less expensive way to eat. And it is all about eating and having a good relationship with our money. We pay a premium to buy watermelon and strawberries all year. Yes, we can buy frozen when we just cannot live without an item, but I am making that an exception rather than the rule. Right now, the only thing in my freezer are ice cubes!
This is the high season for farm markets in all areas…from now through September. Learn from the farmers as you learn about the farmers. Find out what they specialize in and build the relationships. It is a first step to begin investing in our land and our farmers, and OURSELVES by eating local and keeping our money healthy in our communities while we eat healthy.