Farmers Markets: Local Anchors in a Global Economy
Sweet peaches. Luscious corn. Tomatoes that taste like tomatoes used to.
Serve them up alongside catch from our local watermen crabs, hard and soft, along with an assortment of finfish from perch to rock and you know how good it is to eat at the table of Mother Nature.
Tis the time of the year when, by stopping at a farm market or at stands along the road from Severna Park to Solomons, you can feed your family entirely from the bounty of Chesapeake Country.
We think that eating locally for months on end is one of the grand opportunities of living where we do.
Pleasures like this are complete in themselves. They dont need to do anything but be, or have any words made about them.
But we dont think it will detract from your pleasure as you savor your supper say soft-shell crab; fresh-picked corn on the cob; cucumber; onion and tomato salad; followed by peach-blackberry cobbler to note that by eating locally, youre also making a stand against globalization.
In the past decade, globalization has come on us unawares to change our lives. Much of the produce we consume today comes from foreign lands. Delivered to us as if by magic, it comes from whence we know not no more than we know how it was raised, handled and transported.
Globalization is broader than that, of course: We make very little of what we wear and carry home from our shopping trips.
Good-paying jobs are flying off-shore being outsourced and there are those in Washington who see this somehow as healthy for the republic.
Theres little we can do about much of what is happening except when it comes to what we eat. This time of year, its a short step out of the global economy with its mystery fish, shrimp frozen in India, imported tomatoes that resemble the real thing in color only to recapturing the pleasure of food harvested fresh from our earth and waters.
Shopping from farm markets is good for our communities as well as for our satisfaction and our families. The way to keep farmland and greenspace is to let people make a living from it. Buying local produce, fish and flowers supports a local economy that in turn supports us.
These days, with Wal-Mart and the big boxes bigfooting into every niche, the deck is stacked against people trying to run their own business. Buying from farmers and at whole foods stores that bring you local produce keeps the money flowing locally rather than shipping it to Arkansas or California, Mexico or India. Think of shopping locally as watering your own garden. The next step is bringing the harvest to the table.
Enough said. Its time to eat.