One of the great things about bike riding in Western Massachusetts is all the farm land and beautiful country roads to explore. Well, even better for a cyclist is having easy access to all the great things those farmers have produced.
Farmers’ markets are growing in number and location in the Pioneer Valley, and riding your bike to one of them is a fantastic way to spend a Saturday morning, or bring dinner home on a lazy summer weeknight. You can find locally grown produce, maple syrup, and locally raised eggs and meats. Many of the markets also accept Women Infants and Children, WIC, and EBT, or food stamps, for payment.
Another thing I appreciate about shopping at the farmers’ market is the chance to be outside with so many other people from my community. The farmers’ market is always full of people who can tell me new ways to cook a familiar vegetable, or how to cook one I’ve been leery of. Shopping outdoors is part a thrilling cycling experience for me. While I’m at the market I can pretend I’m on a bike tour, having stopped at a roadside market to pick up something to make for dinner at the campsite. Getting to talk to the farmers who’ve produced the food is another benefit. Sometimes a talk with the farmer will yield another town or road to explore on my bike. Fresh food and a new place to cycle!
A quick visit to the Community Involved in Sustained Agriculture, CISA, website will show you the locations of farmers markets in Western Massachusetts. You can sort the information by location, so you’re presented with a list of farmers’ markets by proximity to the location you’ve selected. My search for Northampton shows a farmers’ market within 10 miles every night of the week except Monday.
I ride to the farmers’ market with my bucket panniers empty, and return home with them full. It’s a wonderful way to spend the day.