Almost every small and medium-sized town has what are called farmers markets. We love them. Some are seasonal. Some open only on weekends. People shops under tents and pay vendors cash. It’s all very charming, a nice alternative to superstores.
I just returned from one. I came home with a 4-pound Red Snapper, oversized Brussels Sprouts, beautiful red potatoes, fresh cheese made in the Mexican style, and tubs of spices – all for less than half what I would pay at a regular grocery store. Plus I enjoyed looking at foods and ingredients from all over the world. So delightful, and so smart financially.
You simply would not believe the fish counter. You would think it was Greece or Turkey.
However, there were no tents and no farmers taking cash. This was a permanent building with regular hours of operation, unified checkout lines, and all the necessary technology to take credit cards. Enough of the products there were direct-to-consumer to justify the name ‘farmers market’ but it’s also a big business.You simply would not believe the fish counter. You would think it was Greece or Turkey. Fresh fish (yes, with heads and tails) were everywhere, on ice, all selling for half the price of the frozen stuff at the local store. It was dazzling. And the action! People from all over the world were grabbing tickets (you had to get in line), shouting demands, and piling their carts high.
It was just beautiful, if you like this sort of thing, which I do.
Still, there is something puzzling about these markets. I have friends who visit or move from foreign countries. I’ve always been proud of American food markets, but these typically denounce what they find in stores. They think our food is terrible: processed, fake, tasteless, boring, expensive.
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