Continuing with the “local” beat, I decided to pay a visit to the Austin Farmers’ Market and ask a simple question; why is it important to shop local? I apologize in advance for the shoddy audio, my little Flip Mino HD was working as hard as it could, but between the plodding bass beat from the band from across the parking lot and that killer harmonica solo during the second section, things got a bit rough. Regardless, it is a good taste of what it feels like to be caught up in the local spirit on a Saturday morning.
Of course, it always sounds great to be a supporter of the local economy, but there are other important benefits to factor in when shopping at a local market.
1. It may be healthier for you
And I am not just talking about cutting down on pesticide covered/unnaturally fertilized vegetables. The use of honey, such as that from Round Rock Honey, made from local wildflowers is known to help cut back on allergic reactions due to pollen in the area. Think of it in terms of getting a flu shot; a little dose in advance can go a long way toward preparing your body for the onslaught of debilitating conditions later.
2. The quality is outstanding
The effort by vendors, such as Jean Brooks from Serious Sourdough (featured in the video), to painstakingly prepare their products by hand day after to day pays off. Typically, what a vendor has to offer outclasses most of what you can find in your everyday supermarket, but do be aware you will likely be paying a premium for that freshness. As always, this is choice each person will make on an individual basis, but in many cases that little extra expense is worth it.
3.You get to be an active member of the community
For many students who choose to spend four or more years here in Austin, it is easy to get locked into that university “bubble.” You eat in the cafeteria, you go to class, you study in the library, you might go out a night or two, and then you end up back in the “comfort” of your dorm. But if you never break out of your mold, you will never get to experience the little things that Austin has to offer. A farmer’s market gives everyone an opportunity to spend some time with a group of people who just enjoy being alive on a Saturday afternoon.
Of all the precious things this city has to offer, always make the effort to spend time with those who have been here all along. You might learn a little bit more about yourself in the process.
(Here are a few more pictures.)
(Map to the location.)
The Austin Farmers’ Market runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday.
(Photos by Shannon Wade.)