From the Good Earth

Supporting local farmers makes sense, and provides us with food that’s fresher and tastier.

Mary Ann Esposito at the Winter Farmers’ Market at Cole Gardens in Concord.

Everything we eat comes from the earth, and we are its stewards. Whether you are a farmer, artisan food maker or home vegetable gardener —or if you just want to eat healthy foods that are clean, sustainable and good—we should all strive for food in its purest form.

That is why the Slow Food movement was started in Bra, Italy, in 1986 by Italian food journalist Carlo Petrini, who brought awareness to what was happening to our food sources. That awareness has grown rapidly worldwide. Petrini’s message is timeless: demand real, pesticide-free and GMO (genetically modified organism)-free foods, and get back to the intrinsic value and integrity of growing foods as nature intended.

The rise of the Slow Food movement also catapulted farmers’ markets to a new nationwide level of public support. To me, this means consumers are educating themselves about food that is grown with care, and that has not been genetically modified or chemically treated.

As consumers, we have all the power to stand up to agribusinesses that manipulate our foods for the sake of profit. We have the purse power to tighten the strings and boycott those businesses that practice bad food management; instead we can support our local farmers.

Your local farmers’ market is a gathering place for the exchange of ideas that benefit us all. Going to the source of where our food comes from gives us a personal connection to food and farmer like no supermarket ever could.

In a recent visit to the weekly farmers’ market at Cole Gardens in Concord, this connection between grower and consumer was very strong as I met the artisan cheese and bread makers as well as the condiment makers with everything from national prize-winning mustards to a woman in her 70s making superb Indian chutneys.

The beautiful display of locally grown mushrooms from the New Hampshire Mushroom Company in Tamworth presented me with so many varieties of mushrooms that my fellow shoppers started to talk with me about the many ways they could use them in cooking.

Farmers’ markets keep us engaged as consumers; the give and take information about these and many more foods—such as herbs, organic poultry, meats and even a clever microwaveable popcorn in a non-chemically treated container—gives confidence that our support of farmers’ markets is critical, not only for their maintenance and growth but also for the good of Mother Earth. Every time I visit a farmers’ market, I am helping to keep our Mother Earth sustainable for the next generation and am reminded of a powerful bumper sticker message that aptly says, “No farms, no food.”

Try these fresh and tasty dishes: 

Maple Syrup-Roasted Carrots and Parsnips

Honey Mustard Dressing

Farm-Fresh Frittata

​Chicken Cutlets with Mushrooms and Marsala

​Grilled Cheese Sandwich

More of Mary Ann Esposito's recipes you may be interested in

In the Strawberry Patch

Strawberries aren’t just naturally sweet and juicy—they’re high in nutrients and one of the best foods you can eat.

Liz Barbour's Edible Landscape

Cook Liz Barbour of The Creative Feast creates beautiful— and delicious—dishes with what she grows.

Lamb with Mint Sauce with Gremolata Potatoes

A Creative Feast from Liz Barbour

Risotto con Fragole (Strawberry Risotto)

Fruit-flavored risotto is made in some parts of Italy in alta cucina (gourmet cooking) restaurants.

Stuffed Strawberries

I like to use the largest strawberries I can find to make these elegant stuffed strawberries. Serve them on a silver tray!
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