The Farmer’s Market Diet

When you are doing your best not to go shopping, trying to live off of the stores of food you have collected over the summer, it is surprising the joy that arises from finding a bag of chocolate chips in the back of the pantry.

  Throughout the summer, my wife and I decided to eat the vast majority of our food from the Farmer’s Market. Every Wednesday, we filled our fridge with produce: buying a little extra to freeze, can, dry and otherwise put away for winter.

  Now winter is here. The floor of our spare bedroom is covered with several hundred pounds of squash, and the lid barely closes on our freezer-full of green beans. 

  We will have no shortage of food for the next few months, but I miss the variety and abundance that was available at the Farmer’s Market. Fresh greens, broccoli, red peppers, fruit, honey, meat, bread, cheese and cookies, even organic Cuban coffee… I can’t wait for the market to open again in May.

  I’m not a strict adherent to the idea of my food coming from within 100 miles, but I’m doing my best to eat locally as much as I can. It is true that sometimes it costs more, although often I am surprised to find the price is actually lower, especially if you factor in the added nutritional value and health benefits of the Farmer’s Market Diet.

  And if eating local means I have to give up eating bananas, then I won’t miss them when they disappear from the grocery store entirely. The current abundance, unfortunately, is not sustainable.

  Food that has to travel half way around the world to get here is not going to be an option in a world of rising energy prices. What is the carbon footprint of a case of bananas flown from Ecuador to my grocery store? 

  Eventually, we will all be forced to eat local. It is inevitable – just a matter of when.

  It would be really unfortunate if we are suddenly forced to make the change. A continued drought in California could cause scarcity quickly. Vancouver Island currently has under a week’s supply of food for its people. It takes considerably longer than that to grow a potato.

  I’d like our community to be ahead of the curve. The more of us that eat from the Farmer’s Market, the more farmers there will be. More farmers = more food.

  I also buy local because it supports the local economy. Every dollar I spend at the Farmer’s Market goes into the pocket of a friend and neighbor. I feel good for their success. And I really do feel good. At 35, I’m the healthiest I’ve been in my entire life. It helps that I bike to work, but the nutrition from a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has made my body stronger.

  This was our first summer eating the Farmer’s Market Diet, and this will be our first winter trying to extend the program. 

  Tonight I’m making beef-vegetable soup with home stewed tomatoes for dinner; but I’m really looking forward to a chocolate chip cookie for dessert. 

Chris Semrick, B.Sc, RRT, CRE is a Registered Respiratory Therapist, Certified Respiratory Educator and a Smoking Cessation Counselor.