Why farmers markets are a great summer experience

Farmers Markets: The Summer Experience

What to expect and why you'll be wanting more


Now that summer is in full swing, I can finally take advantage of all the wonderful experiences summer has to offer. I love swimming at beach, roasting marshmallows, and spending late nights with my friends, but there is one experience that has these beat. And that is, going to farmers markets.

Last Saturday, I went to my first farmers market of the season. Before going, I made sure I had my two essential items: reusable bags and cash. Not only are reusable bags great for the environment, but they will make the farmers market more enjoyable for you. Hopefully, you will be visiting many booths and purchasing some amazing items from vendors. Rather than carrying all those items around in ten different bags, it is much easier to place all your goodies into one, big bag. Also, you might be buying some fresh veggies, fruit, or cold items that you would want to store in your own chilled bag. Next, cash. While there are some vendors that do have card options, more likely than not, most will be cash only. Nothing is worse than picking out your new hat or handmade garden gnome, only to learn that they are cash only.

Reusable BagsPersonal Photo

Once I made sure I had those two items in the car, it was time to go. I do not believe there is anything quite like the atmosphere of a farmers market. At the one I visit, there is live music throughout the street, tons of people shopping, and of course, mine is along Lake Michigan (the Wisconsin side, for those of you who are curious). Now, while most people's first stop is to this amazing little coffee stand, I have another snack on my mind. My first stop was the booth that houses the most amazing, homemade cream cheese rangoons. I. LOVE. THEM. With my heart full of the cream cheese goodness, I was ready to continue exploring.

Now, the proper way to fully take in a farmers market, is by starting at one end and slowly walking down the street, stopping at each booth that catches your fancy. And if you really want to do this right, stop at the booths with samples, because samples. Where else can you try homemade chips that taste like cheesecake, which are wonderful by the way. Where else can you try forty different cheeses and not feel guilty about going back for seconds? How about a key lime pie dip? Have you thought of anywhere? I don't think so. It is the prime experience of farmers markets.

Cheese for daysPersonal Photo

But, farmers markets are not only a great experience for me, they are also great for the vendors. It is wonderful to have a place to shop and support community members. I love knowing that I can support their crafts, whether it be woodworking, jewelry making, gardening, etc. Plus, everything comes locally. From the fruits to the flowers to the fresh pies, this is what the area has to offer. It is magical knowing the flowers on my dinner table came from the local area rather than being shipped in to a large grocery store. It is heartwarming knowing that each vegetable was handpicked and ready for me to serve.

Yet, the greatest thing of all, about farmers markets, is finding that unique item that you cannot get anywhere else. And last Saturday, I found my unique item. As I entered the market, between two barbeque stations, there was a booth with window decorations made of glass. And as I marveled at all the wonderful creations, my eyes fell upon the most beautiful thing of all, the glorious cubbies W. I cannot wait to bring it to my new apartment and hang it proudly for all to see.

Fly the WPersonal Photo

So, the next time you are wondering what to do this summer, try finding a local farmers market. Even when I travel to Florida later this summer, there is a farmers market I know I will be visiting with my family. Support your community, shop local, and above all, get to those samples!!!

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8 Items I Recommended For My Sister's First Year at College

With my baby sister's first year of college coming up, I want to make sure she is prepared for anything.


As an older sister, it is my responsibility to try everything first. From the first week away from home, to taking my driver's license test, to starting high school, it has been my honor to play guinea pig. And with my sister and other young people starting their first year of college in a few shorts weeks, I thought I would share my older sister advice on what to bring to make this first year a breeze.

1. A Pillow with Arms


I love this item. I was so sad when I came home for the weekend, and I had to leave this pillow at school. I use this when I am in bed because normal pillows just don't cut it when I am on my laptop, doing homework or watching TV. If you can find one with a pocket, even better. These are great to store phones, chapstick or other small items.

2. Favorite Pillow and Blanket


These are the two things I would never leave for school without. When traveling to either home or school, my pillow and blanket are always in tow. It is a nice touch of home, plus both help me fall asleep easier. And trust me, sleep is a valued rarity during these next four years.

3. A Robe


Whether you are bringing yours from home or buying a new one, this is a must. If you know you are living in a dorm with a community bathroom, this is just a nice extra layer at 2 a.m. when you have to use the bathroom. They are also great for after the shower when you do not feel like getting dressed just yet, but still need to cover up.

4. Nice Outfits


This one is huge. You never know what you have to dress up for, which makes it hard when you can only bring so many clothes. I would make sure that you bring an outfit that you could wear to church, one for a fancy dinner, one for a formal night, and one professional outfit. You may only wear each once, but trust me, better to have them than not.

5. Cleaning Supplies


Congratulations! Your adult life is starting and that means cleaning your own rooms. I find it highly improbable that you will have housekeeping this coming year, so you better stock up. Do not let yourself keep a dirty room. Not only could it upset your roommate, but you deserve to live in a nice, clean space. I recommend bringing: a Swiffer mop with dry and wet pads, a duster, Lysol wipes, hardwood wipes, bleach, and anything else you notice your parents cleaning the house with.

6. Planner


This might seem like a no duh to some, but others might be surprised. You will not remember it all. So take the step to find a planner that works for you. It could be as simple as only ones with the days of the week or ones that helps you plan your goals and dreams. Just find something that you can write down all your assignments and important events. It will save you so much trouble in the long run.

7. Favorite Snack


Again, another no-brainer, but always have your favorite snack on hand. For those late nights doing homework or watching shows with friends, your favorite snack will be there for you. And never run out. There is nothing worse than staring at an empty Oreo package on your bedside table.

8. An Open Mind


This is the most important. Out of all the items, this is the one you always need. This coming year is basically going to be a lot of new adjustments, which require a lot of trying from your end. Try new foods, clubs, and classes. Meet new friends, travel to new places and go to events on campus (especially free ones with food, so like, ALL OF THEM). Do not say no to things right off the bat; instead, just try them. Be open to all the new things, and you might find something you never knew you liked.

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