Life | Style Photo Essay: Late Summer Farmer’s Market in Bend, Oregon by Austin Dudley September 10, 2013 Photographer Austin Dudley captures the joys of a late summer farmer’s market on Brooks Street in Bend, Oregon. A warm, beautiful summer’s day: down at the farmers market, the first thing I notice is a throng of vegans/vegetarians, picking away at the fruits and vegetables the farmers so laboriously harvested. Even the stands least visited, the meat vendors, are filled with friendly “Hellos” and “How are you’s.” There is no shortage of hospitality; most seem to be in a euphoric mood. I love how this captures this farmer saying, “hang on, just one sec” while his customers patiently wait. What can you do at a farmers market? They are a great place to meet like minded people, of course grab some fresh produce, and lastly maybe get some new ideas. These two gentlemen have met each other’s match. Walking through, there were a few stands that caught people’s attention more than others–like this booth with a plethora of homemade preserves. Everything you could think of right down to jalapeno currant, which spreads buttery smooth on that bagel crisp or pita chip, and explodes in a spicy but savory sweet battle that comes out a draw, for an unforgettable taste! Half the fun of going to the market is testing your skill on what is ripe enough for your taste buds. This lady struck a pose smelling an onion so I quickly snapped a pic, her head turned and she smiled and said she had ended her search! Although you may have a Fred Meyer or a Safeway in your town, chances are that food has been shipped from great distances and there is no telling what happens on the way from farm to manufacturer to store. At the local farmer’s market, 9 times out of 10 you get non-jet lagged organic fruits and vegetables from just miles outside your town. Not only are you boosting the local economy but you are also reducing the environmental impact from the gas and pollution it would have taken to ship lesser product to big grocers. There are vital sugars (non sweet kind!) in fruits and veggies that appear towards the end of the ripening stage; all large stores pick their produce green in order to get it to the store before spoiling, which means even the produce that appear to be ripe might not have the same nutritional benefits as sun-ripened ones. Shopping at the farmer’s markets increases the chances of you getting these vital sugars. You just might catch something you’ve never seen before; even I saw something new, and I have lived on a farm and around fruit trees all my life. What the heck are ground cherries?? Some even found new little treasures such as fermented Kombucha tea. It’s naturally sweet, and good for your digestion! A dish of slowly cooked vegan eggplant stirfry for you to sample!