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The Ultimate Farmers' Market

>> Monday, October 19, 2009

Spouse and I used to live in Ithaca, New York.  It's a fascinating place, and while we certainly can't say we loved everything about it, it is a great place to spend a day.  So, Saturday morning we ventured to the Ithaca Farmers' Market, which in my world is THE Farmers' Market, against which all others are measured.  Thus far none others quite match it.

First, in order to understand the Ithaca Farmers' Market, you need to understand a little bit about Ithaca.  It is an extremely liberal little city, crunchy-granola to the core, and its citizens are remarkably politically active.  In fact, Ithaca can almost be summed up by one bumper sticker:

Yes, I would definitely say most true Ithacans both eat tofu and vote.  Seriously, half the fun of the Ithaca Farmers' Market is reading all the bumper stickers on the cars in the parking lot. 

Anywho, the Ithaca Farmers' Market is so fabulous for so many reasons.  There are food vendors serving all sorts of organic ethnic tasties and the whole place smells delicious.  Better yet, nearly every farm booth sells organic produce, and it is a requirement that all vendors only sell food grown or raised within a 30 mile radius.  Inside the market:

Plus, remember that Ithaca is in the Finger Lakes region which is famous for its wines, so there are plenty of wine merchants with free tasting, as well as my very favorite hard apple cider vendor ever, Bellwether Hard Cider.  That stuff has an amazing knack of disappearing from our wine rack.

Spouse purchasing organic broccoli raab from one of the many picturesque booths:

By comparison, the Regional Market in Syracuse (which we do our best to support anyway) has one consistent organic fruit and veggie vendor, and I'd guess that nearly 1/2 the vendors are merely importers rather than farmers.  (Lemons in Syracuse in October are a dead giveaway that the produce isn't local...  The Regional Market does, however, have some awesome meat vendors for organic buffalo, lamb, veal, and eggs.)

On top of all the amazing food vendors at the Ithaca Farmers' Market, the place is aesthetically pleasing.  The building is lovely, is nestled right against beautiful Cayuga Lake, and is peppered with local artisans selling jewelry, hammocks, photographic prints, paintings, ceramics, glass beads, silk screened clothing (all organic cotton, of course), and other lovelies.  And then there's also musical entertainment:

I spent way more money than I had planned, as always happens when we go there, but as also always happens, left with outstanding stuff: beautiful fresh greens, crisp apples, huge pumpkins, hard cider, and some artisan gems.

As if that wasn't enough to put me in a fabulous mood, on our way out, we spotted this Ithaca bumper sticker gem:

Love it!


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