Every year, the 4th of July marks our nation’s birth – a time when we get together with family and friends to celebrate our freedom and give thanks for our liberties and the many opportunities this nation provides. In the spirit of Independence Day, I feel it’s equally important to celebrate the numerous locally-owned independent businesses that help contribute to the spirit and individuality of our wonderful local community.
Local independent businesses help to define a sense of place. Think about it, whenever someone is asked to name their favorite restaurant or shop, it’s invariably a unique local business – The annual Saratoga TODAY “Best of” poll is proof of that. However, we often forget that the survival and success of these local businesses depends on our continued patronage. Simply shifting a fraction of our shopping dollars to local independent businesses can also have a huge cumulative impact on our community. In fact, more than a dozen studies over the past decade show that local independent businesses re-invest between two and three times per dollar of revenue back into their local economies.
Many people don’t realize it, but the Saratoga Farmers’ Market is a proud cooperative of more than 65 local independent businesses. By supporting them you play an important role in ensuring that our area farmers and producers can continue doing what they love. Shopping at the Farmers’ Market not only helps to build our local economy, but directly supports the people that worked to grow and prepare your food instead of supporting large corporations based in other cities, states or countries.
Most of the food found in grocery stores travels an average of 15,000 miles to get to your plate. This requires large amounts of natural resources, contributes to pollution and generates trash with excessive packaging. Local independent farms transport their food over shorter distances and generally grow with methods that minimize any impact on the environment. There is no long-distance shipping, no chemicals to simulate the ripening process and no sitting for weeks in storage. The food available at the Farmers’ Market is the some of the freshest and tastiest available — sometimes harvested as recently as that day. Shopping with independent farmers ensures that you are providing your family with food that is seasonally fresh, naturally ripe and minimally processed, with perfectly-created nutrients for our specific climate and region.
Supporting businesses at the Farmers’ Market is by far the best way to connect with where your food comes from. Meeting and talking to our local food producers and farmers is a rare opportunity to learn more about how your food is grown and prepared. You’re also likely to learn different cooking tips and new recipes since many of the farmers at our Market are passionate cooks of the food they produce.
Another benefit to shopping at the Farmers’ Market is the amazing variety of produce you won’t find in a conventional supermarket. Choosing locally grown purple carrots, pioppino mushrooms, and heirloom tomatoes gives you a chance to enjoy the biodiversity of our region. You will also find nutrient dense meats, cheeses and eggs from animals who have grazed in green pastures, enjoyed natural lives, and have lived free from unnatural living conditions characteristic of large scale agriculture.
Barbeque-fixins, decadent desserts, and tantalizing local libations… consider visiting the Farmers’ Market for your 4th of July needs this year and help to celebrate & support over 65 independent businesses that make our community special!
Here’s a great easy recipe to get you started… It’s a fresh twist on a summertime favorite. Enjoy!
Cucumber-Dill Deviled Eggs
Yield: 16 deviled eggs
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes
INGREDIENTS: *available seasonally at the Farmers’ Market
4 tbsp mayonnaise
1 ½ tsp white vinegar
½ tsp fresh dill; finely chopped (plus more for garnish)*
¼ tsp garlic powder
A pinch of cayenne pepper (plus more for garnish)
⅓ cup English cucumbers; peeled, seeded and finely diced*
¼ tsp salt
¹⁄₈ tsp pepper
Place eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Turn off heat, cover and let sit in the hot water for 15 minutes.
Run under cold water and peel under running water.
Halve the hard-boiled eggs lengthwise and gently remove the yolks.
Transfer 6 yolks to a medium-sized bowl. Stir in the mayonnaise, vinegar, dill, garlic powder and cayenne. Gently fold in the diced cucumber, and season with salt and pepper.
Arrange the egg halves on a platter and fill the cavities with the yolk mixture. Top each with a bit of reserved dill and a sprinkle of cayenne for garnish. Serve and enjoy.