Saturday, May 14, 2011

Small town market rebuilds a community

A man yells to a group of women, the price of eggs dropped since last week and the parsley is going fast. ‘What are you taking for the honey?’ a stout man asks the slender woman behind a yellow covered table.
Second street’s air smells of fresh flora and dried herbs, every inch creating a new scent. The spices and sweetness melt into one as the warm spring sun heats up the Claremont Artisan Market.Held every Sunday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., the market is one of the city’s treasured and well known gems. Nestled in the center of the shops and well-loved restaurants, locals, college students, church strollers and weekend wanderers gather to take eating and living back to the basics.

In the consumerism world we live in, it is hard to escape technology’s spin on our dietary needs. It is places like local markets where a person can really reevaluate themselves and become equipped with the essentials of life. Numerous tents offer a variety of calming and beneficial items. From old books and local honey to fresh seafood and produce, any individual can find the right fit to the vacant slot in their soul.

“ It is the people that you meet that makes these markets special,” said Ida Rios from Aunt Willies Apiary. “ We take your life and see what you need to fill it, we help you to become happy, revived and full again.”

Petite children play between rows of basil and baskets of berries in their spring best of light flowered dresses and cool denim. Couples walk proudly back to their cars with strawberries as big as my palm and a bouquet of rustic turnips and radishes. The quaint downtown walkways have bloomed into an organic haven.

“My aunt has been selling her berries for over 30 years and the people
whose lives are affected by it are special,” said Sarah Cookson of Pudwill berry farms.

For many like Cookson, local markets are what save families.

“I have seen my family’s despair over bills and piled debt, but the individuals who buy our product to change their lives end up changing ours and that is what makes this worth while,” said Cookson.

To have a life of calmness and health, I have to take care of myself. Society brings us up to think of life as moments that must be met quick with demand and we forget to rel
ax and enjoy a well-grown and cooked meal. It is something as simple as food that can change a mood.

“When it is local you know it is good,” Rios said. “We cannot afford to put our lives in the hands of big industry food companies. We were meant to eat from what the earth provides and I think everyone is starting to see that.”

It is not only the organic products and fresh produce that draws people in to the market, but the way it holds up to competitors.

“Throughout the year we grow different vegetables and we ask around to see how our organics compare to restaurants and stores,” said Stephanie Massow of Weisar family farms selling root plants, potatoes and radishes, at the market. “When it comes down to, it organic always prevails.”

Many people forget that not all vegetables and fruits are grown year round
. At the grocery store, one can buy strawberries year round, imported from halfway around the world and pumped full of additives to keep it red and juicy. Buying produce seasonal is not only less expensive, it is safer, healthier and better for the environment. The gas used between airline and ground shipping is not aiding our carbon footprint. Local markets that utilize the regions farms can greatly reduce bio fumes, and help the earth that we eat from.

“We use natural vinegar when we grow our berries, it is safe and the fruit tastes better,” Cookson said. “Go and buy a carrot from a local store and then buy an organ one, there is a huge difference not only in size, but taste. Organic is how we are meant to live.”

Our bodies don’t thrive on high fructose corn syrup, or yearn for MSG to keep our skin staying soft. Yet, these are the things placed in our food to make it appear large, plump, and edible.

“Locally grown foods are just smart. A person not need medicine to rid allergies, pain, disease and much more, just the right food choices,” said Rios. “This market is a way for the community to help itself from within.”

1 comment:

  1. A better way to help local farmers get some money and at the same time have healthy foods at our tables!