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This morning has taken me in an unexpected direction. I am currently in Harrisonburg, VA on a visit to some friends. My day’s plans came via text message. “Farmers market this morning till noon!!! Bike down Wolfe Street to Liberty Street, head left.”
I love visiting local markets, especially ones away from home. I feel like eating food that comes from the place where you are visiting gives you a unique insight into the local people and culture. I love the chance that visiting a local market gives you to interact with the local community. The Harrisonburg Virginia Farmers Market has provided all of that and more on this beautiful April morning.
Harrisonburg, VA is truly one of the friendliest places that I have ever visited. It is a big enough town that it has all of the services and activities that you would expect from a big city, but it really has a great small town vibe to it. The city also has a great local food culture, with a strong emphasis and awareness of the importance of eating foods produced close to where you live.
My visit to the farmers market this morning has thus far given me an awesome, homemade cinnamon roll with maple cream cheese icing, a sample of a delicious kale smoothie (no, really, it was pretty good) with a recipe to take home, a glass of home made lemonade and a discussion about the best methods for overwintering herbs indoors. While I have been sitting here writing this post, I have been listening to some great guitar music from a local musician. I also found a man who makes beautiful stone pendants and earrings from stones local to this area (anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for rocks!)
Even better, though, was the opportunity to witness the greatness of community in action. I have seen neighbors getting together here this morning for breakfast and coffee, local artists selling their art and sharing the beauty of their work with a wide range of people, and local farmers who are intimately connected with the land being able to share that connection with those of us that may not have the opportunity to work with the dirt of our Mother Earth on a daily basis. Selling the produce of their relationship with the Earth gives them the chance to continue making their living and to preserve a way of life that was quickly disappearing here in the US (thanks to farmers markets like this, local produce is making a comeback in recent years.)
A community is held together by many small, mostly invisible webs that seem insignificant at first, but when put together provide strength and stability for all of those involved. I have seen many of those webs come together this morning at the Harrisonburg Virginia Farmers Market. When viewed together, I can see the strong community that Harrisonburg has.
Whenever you travel, make sure to check to see if there are any local markets that you can visit while you are there. Not only will it provide you with some fresh, delicious, cost effective local food to nourish your body, but you will be included as a temporary part of that special web of community. This will give you a unique insight into the place that you are visiting that you just can’t get when you just visit the big tourist sights. If you don’t make regular practice of visiting local markets when you travel, give it a try. I know that it will make your escape even more memorable.
Tools to Find Local Market Where you Are Traveling: