Japanese eggplant and peppers from Toohey & Sons farm Photo © Laurel Kallenbach

As we approach Thanksgiving, I want to express gratitude to the nation’s farmer’s markets for bringing locally-grown, fresh food to town.

Much of the food is produced organically, even if it’s not certified organic. Growing without pesticides  is vital for public health and for the environment.

Now that winter is upon us and the leaves are almost gone, there’s only one more chance to buy direct from the farmer in Boulder, Colorado, my home town. After the third Saturday in November, the Boulder County Farmer’s Market is closed for the season.

But oh, how warmly I remember the bounty of this summer. The heirloom tomatoes, the ears of Peaches-and-Cream sweet corn, the gladiolas and sunflowers, the multi-colored carrots, the cucumbers, the Western Slope peaches that we ate by the bushelful!

I thought I’d share a few photos from September’s colorful harvest at the Boulder Farmer’s Market, held in downtown Boulder (on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons):

Windsor Dairy makes cheeses in the European tradition from raw, organic milk. Every cheese is a creamy treat! Photo ©Laurel Kallenbach

Thank you, farmers, for continuing to supply us with fresh, healthy food against the odds. And for reminding us what a variety of foods can be grown with a short distance of our homes—or even in our back yards. May your family farms prosper.

These scarlet turnips from Toohey & Sons were so pink, I thought they were beets. Photo ©Laurel Kallenbach

Renewed interest in local foods has coined the word “locavore”: someone who eats locally produced, in-season foods whenever possible. Why go to the extra effort to become a locavore and buy from farmer’s markets and eat local? FoodRoutes.org cites several important reasons.

Zesty jalapeños from Red Wagon Organic Farm   Photo © Laurel Kallenbach

1. Local food tastes better and fresher than food grown for shipping or long shelf life.

2. You support and preserve small family farms.

3. You know the farmers you buy from avoid chemicals, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or genetically modified seed.

4. You protect the environment. Local food doesn’t travel far, thereby reducing carbon-dioxide emissions and packing materials.

I’m also grateful that farmer’s markets create community. I never go when I don’t bump into a friend—and we compare the goodies we tuck into our shopping bags. The whole market feels a little like a festival—complete with fresh-made local foods from local restaurants.

This Thanksgiving, may we remember where our food comes from, may we support sustainable agriculture, and may we work to end hunger in our own home towns.

Laurel Kallenbach, freelance writer and editor

People share food and smiles at the Abbondanza Farm stand at the Boulder Farmer's Market. Photo © Laurel Kallenbach

Showing 16 comments
  • Jody Berman

    Laurel: Thanks for your beautiful and colorful homage to our local farmers and to Boulder’s wonderful farmers’ market.

    • Savannah Kruger

      Wow, what an amazing ode to the farmers market. As those before me have said, your pictures are lovely- although I’m sure it was easy to take great pictures of such vibrant produce! What’s your favorite thing to buy at the market, Laurel? I ask because normally when I meet people at the market, I see what they have bought (as you also mentioned) and I always end up wanting and the consequently buying those items and making something amazing with them. Great post!

  • Kathleen Christensen

    Lovely photos! Years ago, when I worked with organic produce, I used to occasionally have dreams about beautiful fruits and vegetables like these …

    • Laurel

      It is kind of like shooting veggie porn! In fact, one of the people at a stand made some comment to that effect when I was snapping photos.

  • Marian Thier

    Lovely and well-deserved tribute to one of the best reasons to live in Boulder. I’ll stock up this weekend.

  • Gail Storey

    Laurel, your post is the best segue from the abundance of summer to the gratitude of Thanksgiving–thanks for reminding us of the connection. And your photos are jaw-dropping!

  • david

    nice! I definitely ate better this summer because of the local farmers near Denali. If farmers can grow stuff near Denali, they can grow it anywhere–and do!

    • Laurel

      That’s awesome that there’s a farmer’s market near Denali in Alaska. Did they have any of those giant cabbages that are as big as a barrel?

  • Tami

    A tear splashes on the iPad….

  • Johanna

    Yum. I liked your piece, and also, your photos are really good!

  • Beth Partin

    Laurel. I loved the photograph of the peppers.

  • Rob

    Thanks for the look back at the season. We probably made 16 jars of pickles from the Market this summer.

  • Allen Kallenbach

    Again, you have excelled with your excellent remarks and pictures from the Farmers Market. Thanks

  • Cynthia Morris

    Gorgeous! Of all the markets I’ve been to, Boulder still ranks as the best for quality and beauty. It’s expensive, but most organic produce is. I think it’s worth it.

    Thanks for sharing this ode and the beautiful photos.

  • sibylle

    What wonderful-looking vegetables, especially the Japanese eggplant! Makes me wish we had a local farmer’s market nearby – but living at 9,300 feet in Summit County, we’d mostly eat elk and fish, I suspect.

Leave a Comment