Good Morning folks!
I wanted to use today's blog to tell all the Yinzers out there (Aka those natives of Pittsburgh) about the wonders of farmers markets! Do you take the time to look for local farmers markets in your area? Have you noticed that their prices are usually lower than the super market? Also, you can help local growers support their families instead of grocery store chains? I love farmers markets because you can never get fruit or vegetables quite as fresh as those that have been grown on a local farm.
My mom and I spent a lovely day together in the sunshine looking at 2 of the farmers markets that are closest to her new house in Wexford. One of them I had been to before and the other I had not. I loved them both (one is considerably bigger than the other) and I think that they deserve a little bit of free publicity here for what they offer.
The first place is a local families business called Sorgeols. Sorgeols is located in Wexford and is filled with fresh homemade/ organic foods and hand crated trinkets. They have a bunch of different types of foods to offer including a barn completley dedicated to Allergen and Gluten Free foods. Yes folks that's right.. they have a barn completely dedicated to Gluten free foods! (Sorry for the picture quality.. Im only working with a blackberry here lol)
Anyone that knows me knows that I love looking at trinkets and I also love good healthy foods! So this combination was perfect. My mom wanted to go into the gift shop first and it was great! Three stories of hand crafter childrens toys, candles (that I spent 20 minutes smelling because I loove scented candles) and wooden folk art. It was a really neat place with lots to look at but one of the things that I wasnt expecting was live bees! My mom called me over to a bee hive that they have inside the store (dont worry folks..behind glass or I wouldve been running for cover) You could see the bees producing natural honey combs behind the glass and it was so neat but I was still a little freaked out.. give me spiders, snakes.. anything but bees!
I had come here before a few years ago with friends around autumn and had such an amazing time. They offer really inexpensive hay rides that will take you up to a pumpkin patch and you can search their huge field for the best pumpkin you can find! They served delicious warm apple cider and places to take your picture. It was truly an awesome experience and a perfect activity for the fall. Here are a few of my favorite pics from that experience.. you can see how much fun we are having! and one of my favorite people is in these photos who I miss dearly! My college room mate and one of my best friends, April.. since graduation she has moved to New York City to pursue her dancing career and is doing so well! I am so proud of her and I think she has so much strength to move on her own the the big apple! Love and miss her!
...and then of course there is me in my senior picture in the sunflowers moment
Or how about the one where I am being a huge camera hog on the hay ride?
The best part was that I found homemade apple butter in one of the stores there! It was a huge jar and it was soooo good! And the best part was it had a total of 3 ingredients- apples, apple juice and spices. You can't beat that kind of purity in your food! Put it on whole grain toast and you have yourself a breakfast of champions!
The second time around I was on a mission to find that apple butter again because it was so good and I lucked out! I couldn't even resist breaking it open in the car on the way home and taking some because I remember it being so tasty!
I think my favorite part of the whole day was that the offered roasted corn! This corn was so good that my mom and I both had to try a piece of it and definitely could have gone for seconds. Soergels is a great place to spend a few hours and get some healthy food and sunshine. There is plenty to do and see and it even has a petting zoo to keep the kids entertained so look it up!
The second farmers market that we went too was much smaller but only about 3 minutes away from the first called Shenots Farm. The best part about this Farmers market was that apparently they are known throughout the area for their home made fudge recipes... and believe me there are so many to chose from you wont know what to eat first! They had probably 30 different kinds of fudge that ranged from raspberry chocolate to turtle or mint. I could've eaten them all! But unfortunately I was so full for Soergels that I did not partake but trust me it looks delicious : )
They also offered a lot of very inexpensive fruits and vegetables... even had bushels of peaches that were straight off the tree! and a hay play area that the kids could play in while you were shopping. I, of course, could not leave without getting my picture taken with this lovely cut out... did you guys know I am 5'1! and apparently 8 years old at heart : )
Before I end this blog I also wanted to let those who frequent the downtown area know that there is a farmers market every Thursday around lunchtime in Market Square. Local vendors set up their stands with fruits, veggies, homemade pies and even wine! If you have a minute on your lunch break you should check it out! if you go onto the website for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership they will give you a lot of information on this Farmers market and what vendors are there.
Farmers markets are a great way to make sure you are getting fresh organic produce and that it stays relatively inexpensive. Plus, it is a great reason to get out and about on the weekends when it's nice and take the family out for some family fun time. I know that picking pumpkins and fruit for jams/preserves were some of my favorite memories when I was growing up. Not to mention last fall when I had to help navigate myself and my mother through a 3 mile corn maze! Good thing one of us can read a map! Ha
I hope to one day take my family for a hay ride with some apple cider in hand! Every child should have a memory like that to look back upon.
What farmers markets have you been too? Where are they located? Did you enjoy the experience? Do you think they are better than going to the grocery store?
Please take some time to Google search some farmers markets that may be near you! Get out and enjoy!