Saturday, November 20, 2010

Ruth The Farmer Hooks Me Up

I love Farmer's Markets.  Fruit and Vegetables taste so much fresher when they are picked the day (or occasionally a few days before) they are sold than if they are sitting on a supermarket counter for a week.  Local food doesn't have to travel as far and leaves less of a carbon footprint on the planet.  The prices are comparable and sometimes even better than at your local grocer.  And there's something really special about meeting and talking with the person who grows your food.  (Maybe not quite as special as growing your own ... still very cool)

Meet Ruth:

It's 12 o'clock, do you know where your food is growing?

Ruth has been a key part of the Eglin/Fort Walton Beach Farmer's Market since 1982.  She brings her fresh produce, honey, and canned goods to the Farmer's Market at the Fair Grounds off Beal pkwy from ~0630 to 1200 Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.  She and her late husband began Farming when he retired from the Air Force.  After he passed away, she continued the tradition with her children and now grandson comes out to help.  Ruth doesn't like chemicals and uses very minimal amounts when she grows her crops.  Many small farmers don't see a financial benefit from going through the high expense and long process of being certified as "organic".  However, when nutrient content of fresh local fruits and vegetables are compared to "supermarket organic" the local foods will almost always win.

I found this Farmer's Market the first week I got to Florida with a simple google search for "Farmers Market near Eglin Air Force Base".  The first day I went out on my motorcycle because I was still waiting for my car to arrive from my last base.  I remember trying to stuff as many zucchinis, sweet potatoes, and peppers as I could fit in my backpack and riding back to billeting with a big smile, thinking "I wish I didn't have to cook these in the hotel microwave."

If you're in the Fort Walton Beach area, go meet Ruth on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday.  If you're outside of the area, do some sleuthing and find a market near you.  The food tastes better! and if we don't support our small farmers, I fear it won't be long until corn and soy are the only "vegetables" in our stores.

Today's bounty.  Which goes in the belly first: the turnips or their greens?

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