The absolute foundation of good health is good food. In Rochester we benefit from having one of the finest grocery chains in the country, but I prefer going to the source of our good food when I can: to the farmers themselves.
Now that we are in June, the local outdoor farmer’s markets will be in full swing. As a lifelong Rochester resident I have watched CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) form and town markets spring up. I belong to a CSA, but I also go to the market every week. Today most of the local towns have their own farmer’s markets, and Brighton’s is my favorite.
Through the summer months the Brighton Farmer’s Market (http://www.brightonfarmersmarket.org/) is held in the Brighton High School parking lot, 1150 Winton Road South, Rochester 14618. Going to any farmer’s market can be a quick run to pick up eggs and salad greens, or it can be a leisurely morning stroll with a cup of coffee and breakfast bought from a vendor.
What I enjoy most is talking to the farmers themselves. All of the farmers at the Brighton Market are from the greater Rochester area and sell locally grown produce and meats. While I enjoy the hubbub of the Rochester Public Market, you need to be very careful not to end up with produce or other food grown in mysterious ways in faraway places. By talking with the vendors at the Brighton Farmer’s Market, you can know exactly how their products are grown, harvested and prepared for sale.
Perhaps you have seen the first episode of the television show Portlandia? In a satire of foodies, two characters go out to dinner, attempt to order chicken and then drive out to the farm to meet the farmer before they will eat their meal. While I don’t want to know the name of the chicken, turkey or pig I am buying to feed my family, I do want to know the farmer.
A farmer can tell me exactly what was used to fertilize the soil the plants grow in and how she manages common pests. He can tell me about what the animals are fed and how they are slaughtered and processed. And the farmers usually have some great cooking tips, too. Farmers are interesting people; they are choosing a lifestyle that is rare today, but used to be the way the majority of us lived.
I like knowing that my food didn’t have to travel far to get to me (saving fossil fuels), is very fresh (usually picked within the last 24 hours) and is allowing open farmland to continue beautifying our gorgeous Finger Lakes area. Oh, and eating with the season is good for me, too. Enjoy the bounty!