Even before I'd heard of the 100-Mile Diet effort, I was trying my best to eat locally-produced food, just as I try to shop for clothing, books, gifts and household items locally. In the last five years many businesses in my small community closed; my husband and I have made an effort to patronize those that remain as much as possible. Many of the small business owners have become friends.
What will we do in three weeks when the local farmer's market closes for the winter? Since mid-July, we have bought 95 percent of our vegetables and 85 percent of our fruit from local farmers. Prices are about 55 percent lower than the supermarkets and the quality is much higher. I am certain this is true in your community as well.
The bottom line is: We have eaten better and more economically since July, when the market opens here. We have enjoyed fabulous corn on the cob, wonderful cucumbers and tomatoes and onions, and I've made ratatouille with the plentiful eggplant which augmented my own supply. We've had berries, pears, plums, apples and currants. Today I bought late-season peas, four small heads of cabbage, pumpkin, zucchini and cucumbers.
Each time I visit, there is some surprise, it seems. Feeling sick earlier in the week, I skipped the Tuesday market. What I found today was vivid color everywhere. How lucky we are to have outdoor markets in these days of packaging and marketing and overpricing.
Sometimes, if you are lucky, a skein of Canada geese will fly overhead while you are buying a pumpkin or a bag of apples. You run into a friend clutching a steaming cup of coffee. You catch a whiff of wood smoke or the wine-rich aroma of leaves and you will know it is fall and you are thankful.