Monday, April 1, 2013

Changing Your Diet Series: Farmers Markets

Coppell Farmers Market Community
A farmers market can be your doorway to better food.  It will introduce you to farmers, foodies, and folks who know where to find stuff.  Stuff like raw milk, and local grains, and the best places to find pick-your-own peaches and blueberries.  Not to mention the fact that these people know how to cook...

The Coppell Farmers Market has created a wonderful sense of community in managing their market.  It's run by a local volunteer committee that approves the vendors and determines policy based on input from the vendors, customers and city, and balancing what is right for the community.  The Coppell Farmers Market mission is to connect people to food producers.

The Coppell Market was the second market I visited in the DFW area.  The first, of course, was the Dallas Farmers Market,.  Before I realized there weren't many farmers there.  Coppell has introduced me to many of  the producers I use today, and the CFM Committee is careful to ensure each producer is exactly who they say they are.

Another local market is Eden's Garden CSA Farm in Balch Springs.  Only 10 minutes southeast of downtown Dallas, it's a lovely market on a small urban farm that carries produce, meat, baked goods, honey right from the farm (we call that hyper-local!) and locally produced (Texas) olive oil.  Everything has been vetted by farmer and market manager Marie Tedei, who only allows food that is free of pesticides and hormones at her market.  Added benefit:  the kids will love to see the chickens, and she has a couple sheep as well!

Many markets have classes scheduled to teach you how to use some of the produce sold by their vendors, (sometimes even local chef demonstrations) and it's a great way to get connected to the local food community.  Make sure you bring small bills/change, shopping bags, and a cooler for meat, fish and cheese.  

If you have yet to visit a local market, spring and fall are the best times of the year for fresh produce in north Texas, and you can find winter markets as well.  Late summer markets can be a little slim with the heat, but they are always a fun way to spend a Saturday morning.  Here's a link to a great list of local markets thanks  to Edible DFW!

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