In a foodie world, does a weekly trip to the farmers’ market become a semireligious experience?

I’ve long described the renovated San Francisco Ferry Building as a temple to gourmet food, but in an increasingly religionless urban culture, does farmers’ market attendance provide the ritual and community that other people find in weekly church or temple visits?

Carol Lloyd, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, touches upon this and other topics in a recent article on farmers’ markets. “In my mostly secular existence,” she writes, “the weekly visit to the farmers’ market has become a quasi-spiritual act for me.” She mentions that, when asked, people cite fresh food and community as their reasons for attending farmers’ markets.

This sentiment is echoed by food blogger Anita, at Married … With Dinner. In a post titled “Saturday Morning Village,” she writes:

Yes, you’re right: It’s just an overpriced yuppie food scene. But it’s also my little village, at least for a few hours every Saturday, and I take comfort in the same vendors being in the same place every week, selling a subtly shifting set of wares until it’s time for their turn to rest for the season…. Working in my hermetically sealed glass cube all week, the market’s my weekly check-in with what’s happening in the natural world.

I have to admit I feel the same. I find myself going to the farmers’ market even when there’s not much I need to buy. I like the weekly check-in with farmer friends and produce. I guess it is the closest thing to religion in my life.

What about you? Do your feelings about farmers’ markets border on the religious?

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