I love going to the farmers market. Something about the fresh flowers, the aroma of coffee and pastries, the milling and the chatter, the dogs sitting at their owners’ feet while they wait expectantly for a treat, it makes me feel hopeful. My imagination runs wild when lost among the vegetable stands and mess of people. I begin to filter through memories of Thanksgivings past and long forgotten rainy days resolved with warming bowls of soup. In my mind’s eye, I conceive of meals for my future children. I envision cast iron skillets, dried herbs hanging from the rafters, friends coming round to drop-off fresh bread or stop-in for a cup of tea. The market transports me to a time which, for the most part, no longer exists.
The last time I had company they arrived around dinner time. We ate miracle berry pills that temporarily altered our taste buds. Sour tasted sweet. My fridge was packed with an odd assortment of foods that could not begin to comprise a meal. Pineapple was a sugary delight. Limes were transformed into a foreign citrus you might munch on for breakfast. The subtle chocolate undertones of Guinness were made apparent and it was therefore drinkable. After consuming our collection of tart tasting hors-d’oeuvres we went to Sushi Train for dinner. We woke up with acid-burned tongues.
Still, the idea of coming together to nourish ourselves is very much alive in us. We want to be at one table, in one place, at one time. The desire to share a delicious home-cooked meal still exists. We want to linger over our glass of wine and tell stories to one another. So why do we microwave dinner or grab take-out despite our longing for these types of gatherings and our desire for the familiar tastes of childhood? I cannot begin to answer that question in a single post. It saddens me, however, that this is the state of things. It is something I wish to work against. Yet, I too lose sight of my need for wholesome food. The food industry has powerful tools that endeavor to sell us processed foods every day of our lives.
Which is why I love the farmers market. At the market, I get excited about organic, local produce. It is easy to remember the most beautiful and fulfilling culinary creations are often those made right at home. Most importantly, they are shared with someone. I tend not to fondly recollect the take-away meals I have consumed in the backroom of a retail store sitting on a box of greeting cards. I remember the meals someone lovingly prepared for me or the ones I prepared with my own two hands.
In writing all of this, I am aware that there is a much larger issue at play. I know there are people who grew up eating KFC for every meal or whose family was unable to afford healthy, fresh food. There are children who go to school hungry and parents who have nothing but a microwave to rely upon. I cannot sit behind the glowing screen of my laptop and tell everyone on the other side to purchase organic produce at their local market. Some people live in food deserts. There is no local market.
Which is why, in my opinion, we need to fight even harder to get back to the idea of sharing food. We need to shop at our local farmers market, if that is an option, in order to create demand and drive prices down. We need to educate one another about nutritious, affordable choices. All of us need to invite friends, family, neighbours, over for dinner. More than anything we must make a space at our table for those less privileged than us. We all have to do the best we can so that more people have access to fresh, wholesome food. It is their right.
Should you find yourself at the market any time soon please consider purchasing extra ingredients and inviting someone to dinner. Share your food. It will fulfill you more.