The Farm To Table Experience
Lately, I have been loving farmers markets and the idea of the "Farm To Table" experience. I have been finding that all of my favorite restaurants lately are "farm to table" based which is only a plus to their awesome food. My favorite restaurant right now is Founding Farmers; they have several locations in the Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. area and that is definitely where you can find me for any special occasion ever.
My internship with local newspapers allowed me to discover the farmers markets in my area. I was tasked to write a couple articles on the markets in my local area, forcing me to attend and get to know not only the customers and market managers but the vendors. The whole experience allowed me to not only accomplish my goal and write my articles, but get to know new people and local businesses. Somehow, this made the products they later convinced me to purchase taste a million times better.
One story that stood out to me in particular was one of Esther Riverson.
This is Esther. She used to be a teacher but now owns Kingdom Gourmet Foods, a non-profit based in Springfield. All of the proceeds from their products go towards the CITA Foundation and provides educational opportunities and resources for underprivileged children in Africa as well as other developing countries. It was so great getting to know her this morning as well as try some of her "Friendship Bread" which was so awesome that I purchased a loaf to take home!
This story was so profound to me because the fact that this company is a non-profit did not rise out of our conversation until the very end and I had stopped the recording. I decided to purchase a small loaf of friendship bread that my little brother loved and found the name charming.
I also spoke to a local customer at this particular farmers market that comes every week with her dogs and they share a cup of cookies and cream ice cream and greet the vendors. I am loving the sense of community that I was able to capture from only being there for less than two hours.
The next week, I found myself at a market a little closer to home yet I never knew existed until now. Honestly, I did not know a lot of these markets existed until I was prompted to research them. This was a little smaller of a market but each of the customers and vendors I spoke to described it as a little family; and they all said this separately without my prompting or mentioning of the other quotes I had collected.
After interviewing the owners and bakers of PattyBakes which is based near me, they gave me a free scone which I was all ready to purchase for myself. It was so delicious so I definitely recommend looking into PattyBakes for scones and cookies. Even just standing there interviewing them, they constantly had customers so my interview kept having to be paused; I did not mind at all, I was so happy for the local business and even happier with a delicious scone in my hand. It truly made my day. It allowed me to recognize the power of community and nice people.
I am currently in Seattle, Washington. A popular destination in Seattle is the Pike Place Market which is probably one of my most favorite places in the world, not to be dramatic or anything :). From the fresh flowers to the constant bustling of customers and vendors, it is a place that is almost surreal as you are walking around. It is seriously almost impossible to not purchase a bouquet of flowers, plus the singing fishermen are cool too.
Obviously, we had to stop by while we are here. This is my third time in this city and I never fail to visit while I am here but there is another blog post about my favorites in Seattle coming up so I digress. We also were able to attend the Ballard Farmers Market which was the biggest Sunday farmers market I have ever attended. There were vendors that varied from fresh produce to roasted corn to tacos and even mini donuts and popsicles. If you know me, you know I have a major sweet tooth so I have to partake in some mini cinnamon donuts and a strawberry popsicle, as well as some peaches because I couldn't resist; and this was directly after breakfast.
I have attended four markets in the last three weeks which I would have never expected but it has inspired me to attend more in different cities. I want to encourage farmers markets because of all of the benefits. It is so much more sustainable, you get to know you vendors, and it is simply better for the environment. After speaking to customers and vendors, it is so wonderful to truly get to know who is growing your favorite products and what you are putting in your system.
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