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The Farmer In the Dell

(This post should really be called “Fruit Loops Don’t Grow On Trees?”)

This weekend Bill and I drove up to Central California for a wedding. For those of you not familiar with that area (I wasn’t), it’s nicknamed “The fruit basket of the world.” Man, they weren’t kidding.

Central California has a Mediterranean climate so just about every fruit and vegetable you can think of is grown there. That area of California supplies about half of the produce in the U.S. On our way up, I was snarking endlessly about being in the middle of No Where’s Ville and who the hell would live here it’s so far out, blah, blah, blah (FYI, I used to say that about the city we live in), but all the sudden we got off the main highway and onto a small rural route, and it was breathtaking. Miles and acres of corn fields, almond trees, corn, greenhouses and hot houses packed with tomatoes and cucumbers. If you can eat it, they were growing it.

Along the way we found a bunch of fruit stands that all looked equally amazing. So we pretty much did the Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Mo to pick one to stop at. It was Fruit and Veggie Heaven. I love food and I love to cook, but I have never been so inspired in my life. I was mentally creating recipes, trying to decide how to use pomegranates (aside from using the juice for martinis!). There were tomatoes and onions as big as my head. Cucumbers that would make John Holmes blush. But we only bought a few peaches and apples since we were traveling and had nowhere to store them.

Oh. My. God! A few years ago, we went to Paris and stopped in a market to buy a couple of peaches. They were the most expensive peaches I think we’ve ever had—2 peaches were 5 euros or about $7.50. Totally, ridiculously extravagant. But they were Ah-May-Zing. We still talk about them. They are the standard by which we judge all fruit. But the ones we bought this weekend? Better. Huge, juicy and totally fresh. None of that packed-in-a-box-in-the-grocery-store-for-a-week crap. And a bag of peachy goodness cost us all of $1.00.

I’m so blown away by the quality of the foods and even more by the price. They had better quality than the stores and since they cut out the middle man, it was dirt cheap. The farmers should charge what the stores are charging. Pound for pound it’s a better deal. I wouldn’t hesitate to buy apples by the bushelful. This is the best argument for going to farmer’s markets. I know—some of you are like, Um, Hello?! Where have you been? And you’re right. I’m behind the curve on this one.

We have a couple of farmer’s markets near us and we live about 10 minutes away from some of the best apple orchards in the country. Not only will I eat better but it’s a good way to support my local famers.

(PS: Happy Vegetarian Day, Debra and XUP!)

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3 Responses

  1. I just came back to check on comments here and found I didn’t leave a comment the last time I was here! What a loser!

    So pretend this is 10/1: Farmer’s Markets are THE BEST! And if I lived in California, where all that wonderful goodness was local and organic, I would be on it like…well, like somebody who really likes produce, that’s what!

    And thanks for the Veg Day wishes!

  2. Thanks babe! I grew up in a little burg called Beamsville which was called The Heart of the Fruitbelt. Same thing except on a northern scale.

  3. Mmmm. Fruit Loops. OH – that’s not the point of this post. 😛

    Mmmmm. Pomegranate martinis. Wait. Also not the point.

    Mmmmm. Fresh apples and peaches and tomatoes. Ahh. There we go!

    Yum!

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