There is a Spanish idiom, or “dicho”, as they are called, that I have pinned up in big letters on my bulletin board in my office: “Buen Provecho.” It means literally “enjoy your meal,” but oftentimes it is used to refer to good benefits. The dicho reminds me of all the rewards of running a premier farmers’ market. It has been quite a challenge to build the markets to be what they are today, and it has taken the integrity and determination of every vendor to keep our markets active and our intentions clear. Sometimes our mission gets muddied because the term ‘farmers’ market’ is so often used in supermarkets, street fairs and craft fairs. It has become a powerful and in-vogue business acumen. I answer questions every weekend from customers who want to know why other markets around town don’t have farmers, or why they don’t have as much to offer as the Tucson Farmers’ Markets. I smile and hand over our cards to show them which markets we manage and where they are located.
The question I am most often asked is, Why do you believe that the markets are growing? “Well,” I answer, “We are all just sick and tired of being sick and tired.” Our current food systems are truly the reason we don’t feel good. Diabetes, heart disease, cancer, food allergies—all of these can be linked to the overly processed, so-called food substances that make up the standard western diet. Special thanks goes to Michael Pollen, who has brought some of these issues to light in his remarkable books Food Rules and Omnivore’s Dilemma. Finally, someone has stood up and pointed at the white elephant in the room. The movement is growing at a rapid rate; many of us are fed up, and we are now taking steps to ensure that every morsel of food eaten by ourselves and our loved ones is true food.
I admit, sometimes shopping at supermarkets is a necessity. I am not inclined to take down a supermarket, but if you have the option to buy some of your food products at the farmers’ markets, please include us on your list of things to do! Good food isn’t the only good benefit—we bring you real farmers and ranchers who are devoted to their purpose. We promote real food crafts people who have developed superb food products or lines of products. I for one am really proud of what has transpired at the farmers’ markets, and it is my hope that you will be proud too. After all, Tucson has the #1 farmers’ market in the entire state of Arizona, as elected by you!
I say, “Buen Provecho… Let’s eat!”