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    Recently I spent a  lazy afternoon at my local farmers market sipping rosemary lemonade and strolling between the stalls admiring the fruits, veggies and art. It was a pleasant way to spend the an hour or so, but it was the treat that awaited me at home that was the real treasure. 
    I bought sparingly because it's one thing to let lettuce from the local super-chain fade in the fridge, a whole lot more tragic to waste fresh, from the farm veggies. My harvest was tomatoes, apples, pattypan squash, a garlic braid and purple cosmos. The squash went into soup, the tomatoes on salad, the apples into my lunch sack and the cosmos and garlic adorned my kitchen. The taste can only be matched by growing your own,but I don't have the space or exposure where I live.
   Farmers markets are  a tradition dating back to the first small settlements of human civilizations. More recently there has been a revival of them in urban areas. They are not your Grandmas market either. There are produce stalls, bread and cheese, jewelry, home decor, toys , snacks and samples everywhere. Food trucks are a common addition to most, mine has a brick pizza oven on a trailer and a converted school bus serving up fresh vegan/vegetarian fare. The proliferation may owe to the slow food movement. Slow food began in 1986 out of a protest over a controversial McDonalds in Italy. What started as a protest about the commercialization of Rome's antiquity areas, became a movement devoted to  
food that has been prepared with care, using high-quality local and seasonal ingredients according to Dictionary.com                                        http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/slow+food.
      Slow food is a healthy alternative to the drive through mentality many of us have in todays fast paced, multi-tasking lifestyle.  I know...I am guilty of excessive driving through myself. A well prepared meal with whole natural ingredients is a joy to consume. It takes time to prepare slow food and that may be it's biggest drawback...we lead such busy lives, but it is well worth the effort even if you can only manage it once or twice a week. Leftovers can be repurposed, used for lunch, frozen for another day or just reheated tomorrow because it was so good. Another way to turn today's wonders into a quick meal is to use a crock pot.  Simply put the ingredients into the pot before you go out for a couple of hours and tada! it's done when you return.
      Time is running short for this years Farmers Markets, but if there is one in your neighborhood I highly recommend that you treat yourself to a visit. Grab a sample of the freshest bread in town and stock up on the ripest fruits of the year. Freeze a few veggies to pull out at Christmas or for that special celebration meal. Some things never go out of style, fresh local produce cooked into a healthy satisfying meal for you and your loved ones is always spot on. And the lemonade is worth the trip.  :-)

 


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