by Mardie Caldwell
Traveling is meant to offer you unique experiences that you would otherwise not be able to enjoy by staying at home. Your adventures could take you to another country, a particular attraction, or a specific event. But much of the lure of travel is getting to experience what the locals experience. One of the best examples of this is their food. A good place to find out about what a location has to offer is to visit one of the area’s farm stands.
A farm stand can tell you a lot about a community and its people. It lets you in on how they labor to bring certain items there to sell and it gives you a unique perspective on where some of your favorite fruits and vegetables come from before they hit your supermarket.
One of the most fascinating experiences that you can encounter at a local farm stand are foods that you might not have ever sampled, or even seen before, for that matter. These might be exotic items that you would only find in the most upscale dining locations back home, but to the locals who grow them, they are a common, everyday indulgence.
The individuals who run the farm stands are equally as interesting. To visitors, it might seem like a simple way of life to grow and sell the products of your labor. But many of them rely on the crops that they produce as their only source of income.
When you arrive in a new town, ask around for the location of some of these stands. The locals will be glad to direct you to them and can advise you as to which ones offer the best quality for your money. Just make sure before you leave your room that you can bring what you purchase back to where you are staying, as some establishments will not allow it.
These farm stands are sometimes lone individuals peddling their items, but they are often multiple stands joined together to give you a much better selection of foods. Take the time to talk to the growers and ask questions about their different types of fruits and vegetables. It will be so much more interesting from then on when you partake of that particular food if you know more about it and how it is grown and harvested.
There is nothing fresher than sampling local food right from the field. The foods look better and have more to offer your taste buds when they have just made their way from the harvest to your hand. Once you delve into the freshness that this experience has to offer, you will never look at these foods the same way again.
I have discovered wonderful produce while traveling that I truly wish were available at home, including noni fruit and plantains in the Bahamas, star fruit, breadfruit, and apple bananas in Hawaii, okra in the south, and gooseberries in England. Another item that I routinely find and bring home are dried spices and teas that are unique to the destination.
Whenever I travel to another country or a new area, we always try foods we haven’t tried before, children included. Once when traveling, my young daughter chose tripe, not knowing what it was! She insisted upon it and so we tried it, using local spices and techniques. She didn’t care much for it and liked it even less after we explained what it was.
You might not be able to bring any of these fruits or vegetables back home with you, but it will be a great addition to your travels to be able to see them in their native habitat. Once you return home, these items will no longer be just simple food to you. From then on whenever you pick up that particular fruit or vegetable that you encountered on your visit, you will know the story and the history behind it.
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Mardie Caldwell is the Founder of Lifetime Adoption. Mardie is the host of the popular Internet Talk Radio Show, Let’s Talk Adoption, and the author of AdoptingOnline.com -Your Internet Adoption Resource Guide, and numerous articles on adoption, parenting, and financing. She is an adoptive mother, married with 4 children.