In Western New York (and upstate as well) you always know when it is summer.  Every time you get in the car you’re bound to pass a farm stand or two with summer harvest bounty.  Zucchini, Summer Squash, and endless tomatoes fill the my meals every day.  Here and there you can still find some cherries or a few late berries.  Vegetables from a farm stand are different than the store.  They are warm, fresh, and simply holding them gives you a little thrill.  Every dish tastes better with fresh, locally grown food.  But it’s more than that.  You support local growers.  For example, peaches from down the road instead of across the country. (I look at the stickers on the fruit.)  But this food brings us together.  It brings family and friends around the table, campfire, bonfire, and so on.  It helps us make memories that last a lifetime.

My family has been making a conscious effort to shop at local businesses as much as possible.  We feel that it not only helps support our neighbors and community, but it helps rural poverty.  Here, and many other places like it, are so poor that they barely hang on.  The difference is that nobody talks about it.  Rather, they didn’t before recently. The falling economy has gotten people talking more about their hardships. It can be little things, like the price of milk, or bigger things, like the cost of heating oil.  I know many people who heat their homes with electric heaters over the winter because they can’t afford heating oil.  I guess that if I can help support them, I will. 

Besides, I have been on a journey to get healthy over the last year or two.  I have given up soda, junk food, and fast food.  I have been working vegetables into my diet (because I was one of those kids who hated them.) Shopping at the farm stands makes me eat better, which makes me want to cook more.  And then I buy more veggies.  It’s a fantastic circle!  We all could be a little more healthy, right?

I guess I just want everybody to be happy.  Myself included.  It isn’t always easy, but every little bit helps.  Lately that little bit is Zucchini! 🙂 

Thank you for reading.  I hope you have a wonderful morning/afternoon/evening!