Here we are, at that bittersweet end of summer – I am at once both excited for the cozy trappings of fall and a little sad to see the season pass – always so quick, that summer! While it would have been ideal to share these markets before summer and all of our travels were over, let this stand instead as homage to the gorgeous season.
I can’t really think of a better way to get a sense of the local community you’re visiting than at a farmers market. You get to meet the farmers and makers who are providing produce and goods for their community, and they’re often a colorful, passionate bunch. Like, for instance, the woman at the Whitefish, Montana market whose pottery I gushed over. You know what she said? “Yeah, that’s how I used to feel about pottery too, until I threw 10,000 bowls.” I found a beautiful, delicate black coffee mug with a hairline crack in it. “My husband loves this one, but I hate it. Take it,” she said. “You don’t even know how many bowls I break.”
You get to see what’s in season locally. In Montana, this was a little eye-opening. Rhubarb was still swinging, in August! And the brassicas were in full force: kale and chard abounded.
Here’s how I find local farmers markets: Google! If you have a smart phone, use it! Use Google maps, or do a search. For instance: “Missoula Farmers Market.” It’s that simple.
If you’re traveling by car, travel with non-breakable dishes. Perhaps bring some oil and vinegar in small containers. Definitely bring some salt and pepper. Make a beautiful salad with your spoils from the market. Like the one above! It’s so easy. You can find cheeses and cured meats, too, to add depth and flavor to that salad. Doing this while traveling makes me so happy. Fresh produce can be so hard to come by on the road, so it’s a welcome treat.