Farmers’ markets make for great seasonal eating

When I first started this series of columns, I was not really sure where they would take me. Basically, I just wanted to have an excuse to eat good food and share my thoughts about doing so with all of you. It promised to be a culinary adventure and I would like to think that it was. I learned a lot about the local food scene through these writings. From Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, to Martindale’s Natural Market on the Pike, to Paces Café here on campus, this column gave me the opportunity to explore a variety of local food options. I hope that at least some of what I have written was as helpful to you as it was delicious for me.

I knew that I would like my last column to be something special, but I had not put much thought into what it would entail. I recently had a dream of trying to talk my lovely employers at The Phoenix into paying for me to eat at White Dog Café or another super nice (and sadly expensive) restaurant that focused on local food. I figured the column could be about the special moment where you had to take someone out for a nice dinner and happened to have $50.00 fall out of the sky for you to do so. Plausible, I know.

Clearly, this plan was not especially well thought out. Therefore, it is perhaps for the best (for the sake of this column and the paper’s budget at least) that this dream did not become a reality. Instead, I got sick. First a cough, then a fever, and then a cold. While this is unfortunate for quite a variety of reasons, for the purposes of this article, the main problem is that I have no appetite. While truly shocking given my attitude towards food, I have only eaten food out of a sense of obligation of my body to do so, rather than from any sense of hunger or pleasure derived from the taste of food. Rather than writing about food, as I normally do, I am going to be discussing the importance of continuing to try to eat local food once you are home over the summer.

In many ways, it was my experience with local food from home that prompted me to try to seek it out here. I had volunteered at a local farmers market and eaten at many restaurants that had local organic food. I am very much looking forward to returning home to eat at all of the things that I grew up eating. However, rather than writing a monologue about all of the wonderful places that Georgia offers, since I imagine that would not be that relevant to most of the campus (if it is relevant to you, please email me), I am instead going to provide resources for people to be able to find local food on their own.

First of all, please know that this time of year is probably one of the easiest seasons to find local and organic food. Many farmers markets begin operating in late spring. For instance, Swarthmore’s farmer’s market does not open until May 26 this year. If you are looking for local food over the summer, I would suggest first seeing if your state has any umbrella local or organic organization that can highlight places for you. In Georgia, one such organization is Georgia Organics, which has lists of resources for local and organic food that can be quite helpful. Additionally, I recommend using this website as a search database for all types of local food in the United States, such as farmers markets, restaurants, CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture), and grocery stores all across the country. While I can say that, at least for Atlanta, their list is not 100 percent comprehensive; but it is certainly a very good place to start.

If you are interested in seeing what food is seasonal in the area you live, the National Resource Defense Council has a helpful section of their website (http://www.simplesteps.org/eat-local) that enables you to see what foods are currently in season for different states. For instance, I learned that in late April, lettuce, tomatoes and asparagus are seasonal in Pennsylvania.

My other suggestion, which may seem self-evident, is to do a simple Google search of local food in the area in which you live or are going to be in. It is not necessarily the most effective or filtered method, but it is a start. And sometimes, a start is all you need.

Well, that’s it. End of this semester’s column. Hope you have enjoyed and can find nice delicious food to chow down on over the summer and for reading week and finals.

Happy Eating!

Amelia is a first-year. She can be reached at adornb1@swarthmore.edu.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *