Summer is the time for sunshine, outdoor sports, aquatic fun and recreating with friends and family.
To paraphrase F. Scott Fitzgerald, life seems to begin anew with each season of sunshine.
In West County, thanks to a diverse coalition of local farmers and community supporters, Summer is also a time of Farmers' Markets brimming with fresh, healthy and locally-harvested fruits and vegetables.
It's also likely to get better in the coming years, thanks to an increase in small community gardens and the development of local urban farms.
I'm proud to say Contra Costa County is a leader in a nationwide movement toward local and regional food production. The benefits of local production include decreased greenhouse gas emissions and pesticide use, increased local economic activity and improved public health and nutrition education.
Farmers' markets have nearly doubled nationwide since 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. You can use this handy U.S.D.A. tool to find a Farmer's Market anywhere in the country.
As for our own neighborhoods, there are at least eight weekly Farmers' Markets in West County this summer.
When you patronize these local Farmers' Markets, you not only benefit your body and your wallet, but you help support local food production, which has a positive environmental impact for all of us.
Plus, it's fun to get out in the sun and meet your neighbors and local farmers!
Here is the full list:
Richmond: 24th St. & Barrett Ave. (near Richmond City Hall), Fridays, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Nevin Plaza, 13th St. & Marina Way, Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
El Cerrito: El Cerrito Plaza, Tuesdays & Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Crockett-Port Costa: Pomona & Second Ave., Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Kensington: Oak View Ave. & Colusa Circle, Sundays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pinole: Fernandez Ave. & Pear St., Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
San Pablo: 13609 San Pablo Ave. (between Church Lane and Vale Rd., next to the West County Health Center), Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.