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Why You Should Shop a Farmer’s Market July 19, 2009

Posted by Wapello Warbler in Columbus Junction, Small Town Life.
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Whether you are looking for fresh vegetables grown close to home or outstanding baked goods, you don’t have to look any farther than Columbus Junction or Morning Sun. Both host regular farmers’ markets throughout the summer.

The market in Columbus Junction is open every Friday evening from 4:30 to 6:30 in the parking lot of the American Legion Hall. You’ll find the Morning Sun market at the Methodist Church from 9:00 to 11:30 every Saturday. I stopped by the Columbus Junction market to find out more about it and to see what they had to offer.

One of the fun things about farmers’ markets is that they’re a little different every week as the various fruits and vegetables come into season. I happened to be there for zucchini week. Most of the stands that were selling vegetables had an abundant supply. One farmer was giving it away to anyone who would buy a dozen ears of early sweet corn. I was happy to see pints of blueberries and black raspberries on display, as well as potatoes, cabbages, snap beans, and onions.

There were also some less common vegetables: turnips and beets, leeks and kohlrabi. I’d heard of that last one, but had never seen it. I took a picture so you’ll know what you’re looking at if you should visit while they’re still in season.

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

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In addition to the fruits and vegetables, I found a variety of baked goods: scrumptious looking pies, real blueberry scones, and this table of naturally sweetened breads and rolls.

Bread and other baked goods

I asked people why they came to the market. Everyone had somewhat different reasons. Some mentioned price and some quality. One woman is a big believer in locally grown, seasonal foods. She says they taste better, have a higher nutritional value, and require less energy to transport. Another mentioned the freshness and that the cost is less than at the grocery store. I already mentioned the extra variety.

The one reason for coming that everyone agreed about was that the market was a wonderful place to meet people. You are bound to see someone you know and can stand and visit while making your selections. Indeed, I can attest to that! Although I’d only planned to stay about 20 minutes, I was there almost 45, chatting with the folks that I knew, making new acquaintances, and enjoying the afternoon.

If you haven’t been to one of the markets, I encourage you to visit one and give it a try.

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