Tuesday, January 14, 2014


 Over a decade ago, the professional organization I was a member of as a Registered Dietitian,  took a pro-active approach on the subject of  promoting local farmer's markets.  I am thankful for this "heads up", because it has kept me alert to the importance of locally grown food sources.  Likewise, it has been a fun travel experience to make it a point to visit farmer's markets across the USA and Canada.  This photo shows the Farmer's Market in Midland, Michigan, which has a more modern design than those old, historic structures you will see in large metropolitan areas.
 The circular design of the Midland market allows ease of access for both the farmers delivering their products, as well as the customers who visit the market.  As you can see, it is a paved, flat surface, that is also handicap accessible. It is located adjacent to a city park that has plenty of free parking, hiking/biking trails, a skate park, and the world famous Tridge Pedestrian Bridge (see my  August 14, 2012, blog post, for more information on the Tridge, 3-cornered pedestrian bridge )
 If you will recall your reading of the Kellogg's Cornflakes cereal box, you will remember that their home---Battlecreek, Michigan---is in a big corn-producing area, so you can be sure that there is plenty of corn available at the Midland Farmer's Market as well.  As with most farmer's markets in the Midwest, they are  open spring through fall, and you can find out their times of operation on their website, www.macc.org/farmersmarket  .  However, in the milder climate of Santa Barbara, California, their weekly Farmer's Market in Old Town ( www.sbfarmersmarket.org ) is open year round.  My Aunt Charlotte ( a California native ) knew about their famous market, and took me there on a pleasant evening in January. In the late afternoon, one of the main streets in the downtown area is closed to pedestrian traffic and the sidewalks are lined with food vendors, craft vendors, entertainers, and all manner of produce---nuts, fruits, vegetables, etc.; it was a delightful experience!
 This photo of a lunch I ordered in a Sacramento, California restaurant is an example of why Sacramento calls itself the "Farm to Fork Capital of the USA" ( www.farmtoforkcapital.com ).  Many restaurants in that city participate in the program, which has the goal of using locally sourced fruits, vegetables, meat, eggs, and dairy products.  Their website says they are home to the largest "Certified Farmers' Market" in California.  Since Sacramento is the state capitol, and located in the midst of farms, ranches, orchards, and vineyards, their claim is undisputed!  Also in California, I was able to visit the well-known Sunday Farmers Market held weekly in front of the San Francisco city hall.  It is called the "Heart of the City" Farmers Market ( www.hotcfarmersmarket.org ), and is well known for it great diversity.  It is also a regular source for nutrition education for those who are interested.  I do not think I have ever visited a farmers' market, where there were so many examples of produce that I had never ---- in all my life ---seen before!
 Even supermarket chains in California are realizing the allure of outdoor produce shopping, and place large displays of their local produce outside the building, to give a more "farmers-market-like" experience to their customers. 
 This large field of produce growing in the Midwest will be harvested and sold at the local farmer's market, as well as a farm cooperative.
 Although creativity with a crop that grows vines is difficult for mass production, a small farm operation can make their trellis for  vegetable vines ( see the flower design? ) an enjoyable aspect of their operation!
 Likewise, many cities are providing space for individuals to plant small plots of garden vegetables that they tend to and harvest.  As you can see in this photo, each gardener can get creative with their scarecrow design, to keep the birds from eating their product before the humans !
 All this work of soil preparation, planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting, will eventually product fruit---like that shown in this photo.  Please note the pretty container the fruit is in.  I found that glass container when I was hiking with a Road Scholar group ( www.roadscholar.org ) out in the middle of the woods, in southern Illinois.  Someone had dumped  dozens of glass light fixtures in the weeds, for some unknown reason.  Although some of them were broken, this one was still intact.  It is the cover one screws over a ceiling light fixture.  I was reminded of this photo, when trying to come up with a visual aid to help me learn my First Place 4 Health ( www.FirstPlace4Health.com ) memory verse: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23  That is a great promise that God can take a life---even a life found in a heap of trash (like this glass container in the photo!)---and turn it into something beautiful, by filling it with the fruit of the spirit.  Now THAT is something that gives me "Miles of Smiles"!  Tricia 
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