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Discover Nature’s Bounty In Farmers’ Markets

Wednesday, June 17, 2015 – Good Sam Extended Service Plan

Among the best perks of living the road-wandering RV Lifestyle is finding and trying local foods wherever we travel. With the variations between America’s climates, soil composition, rainfall patterns, and temperature ranges it should not be surprising that you will find a wide assortment of locally grown fruit and produce, some of which you may never have eaten – or even recognized.

And you can find these great local foods in a most enjoyable way by visiting community farmers markets, where actual farmers (you can tell them by the dirt under their fingernails and on the knees of their overalls) set up stands in a parking lot once or twice a week and offer their freshly picked offerings. Though not a recent phenomenon, the recent boom in popularity of direct-to-consumer farmers markets has seen their growth from 1,755 scattered across the country twenty years ago to 8,268 in 2014.

You will find a surprisingly diverse assortment of vegetables, not the limited choices offered in supermarkets, and the farmers absolutely love it when you ask them to identify that purple floret or the strange-looking kohlrabi – and even more when you ask how to prepare it or for a recipe. Many are so delighted they will talk your ears off in enthusiasm about the characteristics of what they have grown.

If there are ethnic farmers in the region, you will also find delightful veggies that you may not find anywhere else, like an Asian farmer offering Thai basil (a type of basil native to Southeast Asia described as anise- and licorice-like and slightly spicy), or bok choy (a type of Chinese cabbage ranked second for nutrient density out of 41 “powerhouse” fruits and vegetables in a US Center for Disease Control study).

But the best thing about locally grown food (call locovore in the food biz) is the exquisite, fresh tastes derived from veggies having been picked only hours before. And what about nutritious? They haven’t been sitting in a warehouse for days, or have been trucked hundreds – or thousands – of miles from the farm to your table. They haven’t been processed, they haven’t had wax applied to make them shiny, or preservatives added to prolong shelf life. All those nutritious vitamins and minerals are still intact in the produce, ready to infuse your body with healthy building blocks. And if you buy organic, they won’t have residual pesticides lurking on their skins.

Mark the second week in August on your calendar which is National Farmers’ Market Week. Special events have been planned for all across the country so wherever you are something will be happening – and of course all those boxes and baskets full of delicious summer veggies. You can find the nearest farmers’ market as you travel at The USDA’S Farmers Markets Directory Search website.

Simply type in the zip code, geographic proximity, product availability, or even the official name of the farmers market if you know it.

You can also search for other types of operations offering locally-grown and produced products at USDA Local Foods Directories.

Local Harvest.org also provides a searchable website for local farmers markets and U-pick orchards and farms.

Difley, Bob. “Discover Nature’s Bounty In Farmers’ Markets.” Good Sam Camping Blog. 12 June 2015. Web. 14 April 2015. http://blog.goodsam.com/?p=31704

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