Monday, September 8, 2008
Farmers Markets: Food for body and soul
By Chris Olson
I love farmers markets...love, love, love them. Especially fall farmers markets. In the past two weeks I've had the chance to visit three different markets, two in Portland and one in Ballard and each visit left me feeling refreshed and invigorated from the abundance of the season.
Two weekends ago I traveled to see a college roommate of mine who recently moved to Portland. While there we spent our Saturday morning strolling through two markets, the Portland Farmers Market held on the Portland State University campus and the Saturday Morning Market near Skitmore Fountain. I was blown away by both. Walking down the rows of vendors I felt a sense of oneness with those around me. Smiling couples, happy families, grandparents and grandchildren, longtime friends, and new acquaintances all mingling amidst the freshest gifts of the Earth. The sense of community among the crowd was tangible. At one point during the morning I stood atop the edge of a concrete flower bed and reflected on my surroundings. Stretching out before me was a long tent covering tables filled with baskets and crates overflowing with the most delicious and vibrant fruits and vegetables I had ever seen. Were I a painter I would have been in heaven. The morning light was streaming through the leaves dancing high above, casting shimmering shadows over the colorful abundance before my eyes. Music played by a local bluegrass band magnified and added texture to the scene by drifting above and swirling among the crowd like a jubilant breeze. Like the old dog waging its tail a few feet way from me I was happy, I was content, I was satisfied mind, body, and soul.
While at the Ballard Sunday Market yesterday I felt this way once again. Looking at the cornucopia of fresh, locally produced goods spread out before me I couldn't help but feel a happiness deep down in my soul. The Earth naturally provides us with all we could ever need and acknowledging that incredible gift by buying food at the local farmers market where I know it has been grown with care and concern for the Earth is one of the best ways I know of to celebrate that gift. I encourage all of you to go out and explore your community's local market if you have one or find those in neighboring communities. Fall markets are a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the full range of blessings the season has to offer. Here are a few links to farmers markets in Washington state and around the country:
Ballard Market, Seattle
Washington State Farmers Market Association
National Farmers Market List, USA
Portland Market, Oregon
Dane County Farmers Market, Madison, Wisconsin