Those of you who are lucky to grow your own food know what I mean when I say that fresh is always best. A fresh plucked cherry tomato off of a sunshine-warmed vine is absolute heaven. Apricots picked off of a heavily laden tree so ripe that the flavor explodes in your mouth, is a culinary delight by itself. Even fresh churned butter recently milked from your cow is something that you have never tasted at the supermarket. Fresh is always best.
For the rest of us, we shop at our local markets. The fruit and the vegetables have been picked and shipped days before, rinsed repeatedly and then displayed in cold cases at the supermarket. The flavor loss is profound along with the nutrient content. Try to shop at great markets such as well-known Whole Foods that feature "Farmer's Market" produce. Or try to organize your local neighbors and share the produce that may be growing in their own backyards.
The best place for those of us in California are the Farmer's Markets. Local farmers flock into locations convenient for city dwellers and sell their produce. The markets are divine.
Freshly picked that morning, the produce has traces of the rich soil still clinging to the gems. Beets, onions, carrots, squash, herbs are in their glory when picked fresh. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage can be eaten raw; the flavors are so rich. And, fresh corn... why cook it? The just picked corn is a flavor delight that can't be matched by store bought, frozen or canned.
If your town has no Farmer's Market or Farmer's Cooperative, try to organize one. Farmers and growers are generous souls. They want to see their produce sold and shared. They do not want to see any of locally grown produce wasted.
- Contact a local government official and share your idea. They will put you into contact with the rules and regulations for food safety and other restrictions in government.
- Contact the growers. Try to have common every day produce along with exotics.
- Pick a one time date (start small) to organize a Farmer's Market festival.
- Form a volunteer group to create flyers, email alerts and a Facebook event.
- Locate a shaded area w/ public transportation nearby.
- Provide large sturdy tables for the growers.
- Bring a small local musical group to entertain the attendees.
- Contact ethnic communities to bring demonstrations of food cooking. The food demonstration will draw in a lot of cooks and chefs to watch how other cultures prepare food.
- Contact all restaurant buyers/owners in the area. They will flock to the event for the opportunity to buy fresh produce for their culinary staff.