JCC Farmers Market

by Katherine Matutes, Ph.D.

(Published June 16, 2014)

I can’t decide what to eat first when I get home from my shift as the Market Master at the new JCC Farmers Market, each Sunday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. We unpack the loot and start noshing.

Everything is of course supremely fresh, but what grabs me most is how tasty everything is. The produce flavors are unlike the produce at the grocery store where items have been genetically bred in favor of transport survival and longer storage, which comes at the expense of flavor compounds and tenderness.

My family has great fun trying to dream up interesting ways to combine our ingredients. Just one example from a recent Sunday is pictured at right, a fantastic quartet that included a French baguette from Amelia’s Bread, Tulip Tree Creamery Fromage Frais, cabbage sprouts from Lush Leaf Farms, and cherry tomatoes from Anna Belle’s Garden.

My 10-year-old daughter inhaled our quartet creation along with a generous helping of Heeter’s Mediterranean Garbaage salsa and whole grain corn chips. Thank goodness Heeter’s salsa is made with heart healthy olives, because it’s hard to stop eating.

We finished the day’s feasting by eating handfuls of blueberries from Anna Belles right out of the carton.

It is a pleasure to see your kids really excited about fruits and vegetables and to let them enjoy fresh healthy foods. But it is also an opportunity to teach them the value of supporting local agriculture and businesses.

Farms have been diminishing over time, and it becomes more and more difficult for local producers to compete against larger, conglomerate growers. Our local farmers help support our local economy and the environment by avoiding extensive shipping.

Before reaching your table, the average food item in the United States will travel 1,300 miles. Only about 10 percent of the fossil fuel energy used in the world’s food system is used for production. The other 90 percent goes into packaging, transportation, and marketing of the food.

Whether or not shopping local is your reason, the JCC Farmers Market is a great way for the family to spend some time together! Join us, rain or shine, on Sundays through August 10, and see what your family can create in the kitchen.