On Sunday, I made my way by bike to the farmers' market, opting to take advantage of local produce from real people instead of a produce aisle at the Safeway down the street. Farmers' markets also bring communities together in an outdoor setting, and this one definitely brought the community out! There was live music being performed by The Pep Boys, and people were seated at tables in the center of the market, enjoying food and each others' company.
I had planned out beforehand what some essential foods were that I needed for the week. Bread, onion, and some kind of vegetable was the list I had come up with, and I figured I'd select whichever vegetable seemed most yummy when I was there.
Beckmann's Old World Bakery is based in Santa Cruz near Seabright Beach and it's been my favorite bread baker since childhood, so I went to their stand first. I ended up with Hearty Nine Grain Bread from the Natural Bread Co., which is a company originally from Walnut Creek, CA, that became part of the Beckmann's Bakery line. Their Walnut Cinnamon Raisin bread is absolutely the best bread ever; I always eat it on Bike to Work Day because they donate it to the Bike to Work Day stations in Santa Cruz. So delicious. I was going for all-purpose bread today, though, so I opted for the nine grain instead.
From there, I wandered around, seeking out a stand that had something on my list. The Happy Boy Farms stand (based in Freedom, CA near Watsonville) had onions, so I picked out a yellow onion and put it in my reusable produce bag that I acquired at some point in my life but have really never used. I always forget to bring it with me to the store, but I'm working on putting it in visible places near my other reusable bags. It worked today!
I still needed a vegetable, so I wandered some more and saw a deliciously orange display of carrots at Windmill Family Farm's stand, which is based in Moss Landing, CA. If you click this link to their farm page, the man pictured was in fact the man who sold me the carrots--talk about a farmer at the market! These carrots had bushy green shoots at the end and everything!
Once I purchased those, I signed up for the Santa Cruz Farmers' Market newsletter and picked up a schedule of upcoming events. Each event has great names. For example, July's event was called "Avocado is My Motto," and August's is "Great Melons Think Alike." I'll have to add some of these events to the Sustainability Office calendar, as well as my own calendar. You can view the calendar of events and learn more about Santa Cruz farmers' markets on the Santa Cruz Community Farmers' Markets website.
Purchases made and my email added to yet another list, I walked back to my bike near the compost-trash-recycling display, organized my pannier bag so the bread wouldn't get squished, and then pedaled home, passing the beach and the railroad track and the harbor again.
What do you like to buy at the farmers' market? If you don't currently go to your local farmers' market, what would encourage you to do so?