Why Do We Love Farmer's Markets?
I'd say that waking up to the Redmond Saturday Farmer's Market is one of the best ways to start a Saturday. I love it. The feeling of walking outside and being amongst your local, fellow neighbors and human beings (and their adorable puppies!) is like a breath of fresh air.
But why do we love it so much? I believe that the farmer's market exists at the crossroads between utility and aesthetic aspirations (for the people who actually buy produce here). The sight of bright green scallions, squeaky zucchinis, linen tablecloths, and golden apple cider conjures fantasies of new kitchen ventures and wholesome living, visions that the supermarket has likely failed to inspire, visions that are ripe for immediate purchase. You can do your groceries! And the whole while will be damn pretty! For many people, but especially for city dwellers, the farmer's market offers a renewal of the senses, a way to once again see produce in the natural light of its origins, rather than the glow of fluorescent bulbs.
If you are not so functionally or aesthetically inclined, you might still seek out farmer's markets - for the experience. Most people have some desire to not only collect experiences, but also to be connected to others through the same experience. Farmer's markets not only turn an otherwise mundane activity (buying food) into an experience, but also transform food shopping into an event that you can attend. You will likely go with your spouse! Or go with a friend! And you'll actually talk to the person who sells you the produce, and ask them where it came from. Or if it's cheese they're selling, you'd ask them how it was made.
The magic of the farmer's market is in how it signals to us the opportunity to temporarily abandon our individualist fronts and pursue our longing for a shared sense of community. And so, what was industrialized into a primarily individual activity has returned to its social roots. The phenomenon of the return to the past is not new; you can look to the revival of analog goods as an example of our yearning and nostalgia for the days that preceded us.
But for me, what's the biggest draw? One unique aspect of the Redmond market is the beautiful, seasonal flowers available, for prices unheard of in larger cities like NYC. I ain't gonna find these in Union Square.