I grew up in (and currently live in!) Central California, in what is known as the “Bread Basket of the World”. The title really is no exaggeration. According to the California Department of Food and Agriculture, California is the world’s fifth largest supplier of food and agriculture commodities!
Some of the leading products California supplies to the world are dairy, grapes, almonds, walnuts, artichokes, dates, figs, olives, persimmons, pistachios, pomegranates, prunes, raisins, and various varieties of fresh fruit and vegetables. Over 400 different crops are grown in California, and even though we only possesses 4% of the total U.S. farms, we still supply the nation with the most agriculture products!
One of our biggest claims to fame are our grapes. California grows 91% of the total of grapes used in the United States for table grapes, raisins, and wine. The production of wine grapes in California is one-third LARGER than the total produced in all of Australia! On a global scale, if California was a separate country, it would be the world’s fourth-largest producer of wine in the world.
All of that is to say – surrounded by a wealth of farms, vineyards and dairies, I have been rather blessed to have some amazing Farmers Markets in my backyard!
I was born and raised in Hanford, then spent my teen years living in Lemoore, and now with my husband stationed at Lemoore NAS, we currently live in Visalia, California. I have visited all of the local Farmers Markets in the Valley at one time or another, and I must say that out of all the local shindigs, my hands down favorite is the Visalia Farmers Market. (The year round Saturday market that is just down the street from my house is the best IMO.)
While it’s not the biggest, or the most crowded, or even the most diverse, the reason why I prefer the Visalia Farmers Market is because it offers the best QUALITY of booths. I don’t know how they choose vendors, but the Visalia vendors are top of the line.
This is where I go for a steady source of local grass-fed beef, free range eggs, raw organic cows milk, local raw honey, handmade products and locally roasted coffee beans. Before finding this all-in-one source, these were usually things I had to bend over backwards to acquire, or seek out multiple locations (online orders, direct from farm orders, stopping by expensive “health stores”, etc.) to obtain. But at the year round Visalia Farmers Market, it’s all in one place at the lowest possible price AND you get the joy of establishing a relationship directly with your local farmers!
This past weekend, before getting to work on our raised garden beds (only a couple more weeks left before it’s time to transfer the indoor seedlings into the garden!), we decided to stop by the Visalia Farmers Market to pick up some farm fresh goodies, and I thought I would snap a couple of these random pictures to share with you all!
Also I thought I’d share from the Visalia Farmers Market website this fun list of “8 Reasons to Shop Visalia’s Farmers Market”. (Clearly, the list applies to ANY local farmers market!)
8 Reasons to Shop Visalia’s Farmers Market
1. Local food supports local families and farmers
2. Local food builds community
3. Local food preserves open space
4. Local food supports a cleaner environment
5. Buying directly cuts out the cost of middleman marketing
6. Buying local supports your local economy
7. Buying local lets you know where your food comes from
8. It’s FUN!