A Naturally Sweet Way to Support Your Local Economy
(NewsUSA) – Farmers’ markets are not new, but they are gaining popularity in the United States.
In general, farmers’ markets comprise area farmers convening in one location, indoors or outdoors, to offer the freshest food available, including many canned or bottled goods and handcrafted items such as soap and clothing. Specialty items like jam and honey are also prominent at year-round markets.
The number of farmers’ markets has recently seen a dramatic increase. According to the USDA, the number of farmers’ markets in the U.S. increased almost 20 percent between 1994 and 2006. And in 2000, 19,000 farmers reported selling their produce only at farmers’ markets.
Honey, a year-round mainstay at most markets, is an all-natural food that leaves a small eco-footprint. Purchasing local honey may be beneficial to the environment because it promotes sustainability. Many farmers have hives on their land, in part because bees are responsible for one out of every three bites we consume. If there were a decline in honey bees, we could suffer from a limited supply of oranges, apples, blueberries, cucumbers, strawberries and other farmers’ market staples.
There are more than 300 different types of honey in the United States, each with a unique flavor and color profile influenced by the types of blossoms bees visit when searching for nectar. Floral source, location and climate affect local honey production. Regionally, one can find avocado honey in the west, blueberry honey in the northeast, cotton honey in the south, and one of the country’s favorites, clover, around the globe.
The following recipe, courtesy of the National Honey Board, highlights some of the freshest ingredients available at local farmers’ markets.