A visit Saturday to the LeRoy Farmer's Market yielded more than the fresh produce that I brought home. This is a community gathering that brings together neighbors and friends along with our local growers. We purchased goat milk soap from Darien, rhubarb chutney from Hill and Hollow in Pavilion (delicious, by the way), my friend Mary Margaret's yummy pumpkin bread, sweet corn from a farm a mile from my house and the sweetest cantaloupe that I have ever tasted. I also learned about heirloom tomatoes which have more nutrients than the genetically altered tomatoes that we grow today. It was fascinating to interact with the vendors and learn about the foods and homemade items that are produced in our own neighborhoods. I also ran into many friends and enjoyed the camaraderie of being part of a community.
As the movement to eat local and sustainable food grows in popularity, the more we will learn how valuable this is. The "buy local --buy fresh" movement creates a low carbon footprint that fits into a sustainable renewable lifestyle that is one of the good consequence of the end of cheap oil. It will benefit our farmers and producers. It also provides nutritional value which promotes a healthier alternative to eating processed foods or foods shipped in that may lose nutrients on route. A tomato picked in the morning and eaten the same day is far better than one that has been in cold storage for a week or more. Eating local protects us from bio-terrorism. Food with less distance to travel from farm to plate has less susceptibility to harmful contamnination. Finally, purchasing locally conserves energy on a large scale as the produce is not packed and shipped from far off places. I would much rather buy my corn from MacKenzie's or Pullyblank's -- growers that I know -- than from hundreds or perhaps thousands of miles away. A win-win for everyone.
Kudos to the LeRoy Farmers Market steering committee. The Farmer's Market operates every Saturday in the parking lot behind Pontillo's from 8:00 until noon. This is truly a community venture that the farmers and the local consumers will benefit from greatly. I also would encourage people to stop in at the permanent farm markets and stands. These established stands need our support, too, and provide the same local flavors.