Delicious produce and eggs purchased at the Midland Downtown Farmer’s Market
By Emmy Ulmschneider and Debbie Roland, Master Gardeners
In the 2006 classic, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, author Michael Pollan considered what and how America eats and ushered in a change in how we think about food. He lays out the case for eating real food. Ana Sofia Joanes’ 2009 movie Fresh builds on the importance of real food by showcasing people across America who are making real food available in their hometown.
The southern part of the Llano Estacado, Caprock Country, is one of the most intensely farmed regions in the world, with millions of acres of cotton, peanuts, corn, wheat, and sorghum, as well as huge cattle and dairy operations. In the early 1990s local citizens, farmers, ranchers and Permian Basin Master Gardeners had a vision of making local produce and meat available to our community. That vision has grown and now there are Farmers Markets in Andrews, Midland, Odessa and Stanton.
There are many benefits to local food. Local food has not travelled for months or weeks to get here, which means more micronutrients and tastier, fresher produce. These markets allow us to eat seasonally which is simply eating what ripens or grows in that particular part of the year. We support our community economically and can connect a face to our food and know that it has been grown with care and passion. There is something to be said for being able to shake the hand of the person who produced your food.
Ogallala Commons, a non-profit education and leadership group, which sometimes partners with Texas A&M Agrilife Extension to deliver programs that highlight the importance of local food production, been working for over a decade to strengthen and rebuild local food systems. Currently they are rolling out My Foodshed which will be featuring social media posts on growing, purchasing, cooking, or celebrating locally produced foods. https://myfoodshed.org/about/ Their foodsheds cover our southern part of the Llano Estacado. Hopefully the Permian Basin Foodshed will be up and running in the not too distant future.
There is an interesting blog which showcases a decade of local food stories from the southern Llano Estacado https://myfoodshed.org/blog/ Each year Ogallala Commons hosts a local food summit. They cover everything from starting food production and improving local farmers markets to using local foods commercially for meals and banquets in the community.
Check out our local farmers markets and then come prepared to sample, buy, and enjoy the best locally produced seasonal foods. We’ll see you there!
Midland Downtown Farmers Market https://midlanddowntownfarmersmarket.com/
Parks Legado farmers Market
MCH Moonlight Market at MCH https://www.mchodessa.com/community/moonlight-market/
If you have questions, call the AgriLife office in Odessa at 498-4071 or in Midland at 686-4700. Additional information, and our blog for access to past articles, is available at westtexasgardening.org. Click on “Resources”.