Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Top 10: Amherst Farmers' Market

Local produce is one of the things I will miss the most about living in Western Mass. Growing up in the suburbs of Philly, I knew that there were (are) farms in Lancaster County, and in South Jersey. Aside from Jersey corn in the summer, I doubt I ate very much local produce. Ironically, when I lived in Philly (Fishtown), I actually visited the closest farm every other week in the Summer (Greensgrow CSA was awesome).

Strawberries and Basil from Atlas Farms

Yet, living in a rural area was quite new to me. Suddenly, I was aware of the growing season; it’s hard to miss when you live next to tobacco fields, smell manure (year round, I swear) in the parking lot of the nearest shopping center, and are constantly stuck driving behind a tractor. However, this is all worth it. 

Eggs from Old Friends Farm. Root Veg.

The town of Amherst has an outdoor Farmers’ Market, set up on the town square, from April to November. My first winter, I discovered that the market continues in the winter. From December to March, the market moves indoors to Amherst Regional Middle School. This is seriously awesome if you are a fan of root vegetables.

Rainbow Carrots!

While I love the Farmers’ Market, the best part about living in a rural area is that I don't necessarily need to go to a farmers’ market. I can walk a few houses down, to a nearby farm, and buy produce at the “honor system” stand on the side of the road. In the summer and early fall, roadside stands are everywhere.

Never had these before; they taste like candy.

I will miss the legitimately local aspect of eating and cooking in Western Mass. While I never went so far as to buy the “No Farms, No Food” bumper sticker, I understand the concept more than I ever did. Once I move back to PA, I don’t know the next time I will cook a meal composed entirely of items grown within three miles of my house. And yeah, it really does taste different. 

Amherst Farmers' Market
Every Saturday
Center of Amherst

April 21st to November 17th
7:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.

Amherst Winter Farmers' Market
Every Saturday
Amherst Regional Middle School
170 Chestnut Street, 
Amherst, MA 01002
December 3rd to March 31st, 
10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

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