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It’s Farmer’s Market Week

August 9, 2015
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer , Estherville News

Farmer's markets are growing throughout Iowa, but they're not new. A version of this model in which individuals bring the food they've grown and raised to a central square to sell is ancient. I think of the beginning of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" in which Belle wanders through her town's market avoiding the amorous pursuit of Gaston, the thug, as the locals sing, "Good Morning, Belle," while behind her back, they gossip about how odd she seems.

Every week, the Downtown Market brings vendors from the area to Library Square to sell the produce they grew on their property, the pies and other baked goods from fresh ingredients, and other homegrown items.

Locally sourced food is growing in popularity everywhere, including at Spice Market & Caf where Jeff Nixx will whip up dishes from locally sourced ingredients, and provide a place to slow down and enjoy a good conversation with the fresh meal.

The slow food movement is also growing. In Paris in 1988, the dinner flash mob was born. Elegantly named "le diner en blanc," (doesn't everything seem more elegant in French?) this is how it went down: a group of friends wanted to have dinner with Franois Pasquier to welcome him back to Paris. Several guests requested to bring friends, and Pasquier asked them to meet in a popular Paris spot, bring something for dinner, and wear white so they would recognize each other. That dinner party was so successful, they decided to hold it the next year, then annually. From there it grew to an event in over 50 cities organized by passionate people who add local flair by stick to the core values: it's a word of mouth only event, held in a secret location, to share a high quality meal of local food and a leisurely night of conversation and fellowship with good friends. It's grown wild in the last quarter century with dancers and sparklers and fireworks and fire jugglers in some cities.

As I run around trying to meet work and family and financial obligations, I find we depend upon food the fast way far too often. For the rest of the Downtown Market and Saturday's Farmer's Market seasons, I'm going to support local growers by purchasing more slow-grown, local food and while I am likely not the right person to plan a diner en blanc for Estherville, I hope the impact of local food will encourage others to buy more local produce and take time to enjoy a meal with good friends.



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