Long silence I know - I have been travelling but more on that later. I'm posting from The Windy City on this fine Sunday afternoon. Today I decided to do an off-beat thing and check out the local Winter Farmer's Market. This is the first farmer's market that I have been to in America and it was a good experience. Being indoors, it wasn't massive and the perfect size so you don't get overwhelmed. Upon entering you are immediately assaulted with delicious smells of cinnamon and herbs. I later followed my nose to the smell of cinnamon and found a farmer selling organic apple cider donuts and promptly gave in.
The string band that was playing provided a lively, country feel to the proceedings. I was surprised at the amount of organic produce on offer - apples, mushrooms, honey, herbs etc. A few of the farmers I spoke to were very upfront with the fact that they did not want to eat chemically treated, processed food and were very concerned about human, animal and environmental well-being. Many of the produce were also converted into home-made pickle, jam, pasta, salsa, bread etc - all laden with organic, natural goodness without of a trace of chemicals in sight.
I also met a free range meat farmer who had grass-fed beef on offer - much healthier than the grain-fed, hormone-pumped options found in regular supermarkets. He also had free range chicken and pork on offer. There was another farmer with free range eggs and yogurt, milk, ice-cream on offer. There were plenty of food samples to go around as well as things like organic tea and bread which you could buy. One of the couples that I spoke to were based outside the city and kept bees. In addition to harvesting their own honey, they also made products from bee-wax like lip balm, soap etc. Another farmer was selling fresh herbs like basil, rosemary, sage etc - I resisted the temptation to buy it all and reined myself enough to only walk away with a heavenly smelling pot of basil.
In a country full of super-processed, chemical laden food with a penchant for over-eating and obesity; a farmer's market in a small testament that America is finally learning to eat right. I have noticed this time around that there are a lot more organic produce on super-markets shelves, better labeling and healthier food choices. The rest I believe, will follow - hopefully soon.
Photo: Akhila Vijayaraghavan ©