Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Amenia Winter Farmers' Market

I love the Amenia Winter Farmers Market. The market is still only in its first year; the summer of 2010 marked the beginning of the Amenia Farmers' Market, and on the heels of its success, the participants decided to experiment with a winter market. The truth is, I only went once during the summer. I wasn't impressed that day. It was early in the summer, and there were only about six vendors; also, as a CSA member, I really didn't need much in the way of produce. When I heard the news about the winter market, though, I was really excited. The market was held each week between Thanksgiving and Christmas and then once a month during the endless, cold and snowy winter. The winter market really opened my eyes to local farmers, craftspeople, bakers, and cooks I might not have known existed. In addition to the farmers and food vendors, there's a local woman who makes knitting supplies (needle holders, knitting bags), local potters, a woman in Millbrook who spins yarn, and a nice gentleman who builds birdhouses. I've become addicted to fresh eggs and locally grown meat, and there is a hydroponic farm in Wassaic that kept us all in salad greens throughout the winter. Until November, I had no idea most of these things were available in my community. In this season alone, I purchased, all locally grown and/or made:  greens, apples, potatoes, onions, pumpkins, squash, bread, cheese, eggs, hamburger, jellies and jams, chocolate covered pretzels, cake, granola, yarn, and seeds. I'm sure there is more that I am not remembering.

I love the Amenia Winter Farmers' Market because I think it is important to buy local and reduce the carbon footprint of the food and gifts I buy for my family. I love the Amenia Winter Farmers' Market because I think it is important to support local farmers and business owners. I love the Amenia Winter Farmer's Market because I am endlessly amazed by what is available in my tiny community. Mostly, I love the Amenia Winter Farmers' Market because it gives me hope, hope that if we all start to see the value of what is available locally, we may begin to heal our earth, our economy, and our sense of community. If I have a farmers' market, chances are you have one too. Stop by and buy something. You'll be glad you did.