Recipes / The Editor's Corner: Farmer's Markets

The Editor's Corner: Farmer's Markets

Jane Chesnutt discusses the merits of local farmer's markets

By Jane Chesnutt Posted August 31, 2009 from

The Editor's Corner: Farmer's Markets

Photo: © iStock Photos

I fell in love with farmer’s markets the first time I went. I remember buying an eggplant, which until then I’d never even eaten. It was so unlike any vegetable I’d ever seen, and I was seduced by its silky purple-black skin. I went home and made (what else?) eggplant parmigiana. This all happened when I was in college, and the moment marked a turning point in how I cooked, from the foods of my childhood to those of my adult life.

That farmer’s market in Austin was, I now realize, way ahead of its time. Today, they’re everywhere, with some, like the world-famous Union Square market that’s near my apartment, running year-round. It’s the rare week when I’m not there or at some other market, usually buying more than we can eat just because it all looks so wonderful.

But it’s not just the quality of the fruits and vegetables and meats and cheeses that I love. Shopping at a greenmarket is not shopping, it’s an experience, entertainment, stress relief. I’m convinced that my heart rate slows as I make my way around, trying to decide which stand has the best tomatoes. The market in the little town where I spend most weekends is in a field on a farm, and very often a musician or two is playing: bliss along with the green beans and corn and homemade bread.

If you haven’t yet succumbed to their charms, may I suggest a jaunt to a local greenmarket? My best advice: Take more bags—and allow more time—than you think you’ll need.

For our food department’s favorite eggplant recipe, Eggplant Polenta Stacks, click here.

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