A recent business trip landed me right in the heart of Omaha, Nebraska. My hotel was right in downtown Omaha, a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Saturday morning farmer's market. The lady at the hotel's front desk recommended it as a local event to check out, so I made sure I penciled it into my itinerary.
While a majority of the city of Omaha was sleeping in and catching up on lost sleep, I got myself dressed and ready and headed down a few blocks to the downtown Omaha's Farmer's Market, which proved to be loaded with wholesome foods and a haven for family fun.
(photo credit: omahafarmersmarket.com)
The Omaha Farmer's Market is a popular attraction for local foodies. Tents and booths are erected in Omaha's Old Market, the historical part of town that boasts carefully restored and re-purposed brick warehouse buildings, small-town outdoor eateries, boutique shops, and cobblestone streets. The Old Market area has a historical charm all its own, and the Omaha Farmer's Market breathes new life into the area of 11th and Jackson Streets on what would otherwise be a quiet, serene morning in downtown Omaha.
Over some 16 years, the Omaha Farmer's Market has grown and expanded with a number of repeat vendors and participants, offering up several blocks of produce, crafts, flowers, and baked goods. As you stroll around, every corner has a musician, creating a lively, upbeat atmosphere for shoppers. Visitors will also visit the nearby cafes and enjoy breakfast or brunch on the outside patio areas, sipping a coffee and people-watching while conversing with a few friends. I can see how the Omaha Farmer's Market is *the* place to be on a Saturday morning–what a perfect start to one's day!
As I walked around, I saw a number of vendors offering a plethora of produce and home-grown goodies. One vendor's table is stacked with lettuce, kale, and other greens, while another has baskets and baskets of fresh tomatoes and potatoes for sale. Another sells potted and cut herbs from the back of his red pick-up truck, while his neighboring vendor sells homemade pies and freshly-baked chocolate chip cookies.
A few booths down, you can pick up everything from healthy snacks for weight loss, to the tastiest of sinful delicacies. Choices start with local produce or homemade beef jerky, and range to mouth-watering fresh breads. Apart from the food, the family can enjoy vendors selling jewelry and homemade soaps, and even a clown that creates balloon animals and hats for the children. It’s the modern-day equivalent of foraging for your food!
It's important to know that when you're visiting a farmer's market, everything is locally grown. This means that you will only find seasonal products. The Omaha Farmer's Market runs from May to October, in which a number of various fruits and vegetables go in and out of season in the Nebraska summers. Some vendors specialize in certain produce, while others will provide their shoppers with fresh goods all summer long. Also, don't expect a farmer's market to be anything like your local grocery store–in Nebraska, you won't be finding oranges and lemons at the market like you would at the store!
The Omaha Farmer's Market is a great way to pick up some healthy foods and snacks for you and your family. Not only can you enjoy natural metabolism boosters like raw fruits and vegetables, but there are also vendors selling mustards, honey, and granola to enjoy with your favorite produce. Raw or grilled, you are bound to find something fresh and amazing to take home and enjoy.
And if you've been wanting to try something new, talk to the farmer themselves and ask them their favorite way to prepare eggplant (grilled and tossed with marinara sauce on angel hair pasta) or a recipe they would suggest for fresh asparagus (wrapped in bacon and oven-baked)–now that's service you can't expect from Walmart! The Omaha Farmer's Market also hosts demonstrations from local chefs, showing you how to make amazing meals with the foods purchased at the market.
I'll admit I was thoroughly pleased with the Omaha Farmer's Market. What a great way to pick up some healthy snacks like granola and fresh fruits, but also a wonderful Saturday morning adventure for anyone that likes to start their day off with music, shopping, and maybe some brunch out on a cafe patio. Everyone walking around the farmer's market had a smile on their face, and the camaraderie and positive energy was abundant.
About the author: Greg Hayes is the author of Live Fit Blog, where he writes about fitting fitness into busy lives. A chemist who loves to cook, he provides tips on employing foods that are metabolism boosters to propel you to your weight loss and fitness goals.