In the classical and religious traditions, spring is a time for rebirth. In the gardener’s tradition, it isn’t until summer that all this new life is big enough to eat.
It’s always surprising how long it takes after the growing season begins for fresh food to start appearing on the table. The trickle starts with garlic scapes and radishes, which are prettier than they are filling. When the strawberries come in is the first time it feels bountiful, and by the end of June the floodgates are open for delicious, fresh produce. Once you get a taste for it, you’re ruined for the supermarket version.
Fan that I am, still I never got much into growing food – it takes up real estate that could otherwise be growing so many flowers. And it also feels like I don’t need to take on this pursuit myself because there are so many talented farmers around to do it for me, better than I can, and pretty cheaply too. I just need to have the wherewithal to get to a farmers market, and I’ll find what’s in season at a good price.
Almost all farmers markets in Philly are run by one of two organizations, Farm to City and The Food Trust. These non-profits help coordinate, advertise, and promote farmers markets to the public, and they assist the farmers with the business side of farming- taxes, fees, and permits. They also help administer the Farmers Market Nutrition Program, a federal program which allocates vouchers to low-income women and children that are redeemable at farmers markets, as well as lots of other worthy programs and partnerships.
There are hundreds of farmers markets in and around Philadelphia and the surrounding area. If you want to know where and when they are, click on the links above. And while the food may be a little slow to start coming this time of year, the upside is that the there will still be a lot of growing momentum long after the weather turns cool again. Most markets keep going until the dark days of November.