Saturday, September 24, 2005

Dollars and Scents

It's Saturday, and you know what that means... time for the market report.

Just because it's the end of September, don't think that the market has shifted over completely to squash and potatoes. Oh no! Some old favorites from earlier in the year showed up for a second round, prettier than ever, as well as the bountiful cornucopia of fruits and vegetables making their first appearance.

I strolled down the lot, past all the stalls, just to get a good look at what everyone was offering today. I picked up a big bag of Kennebec potatoes and some small broccoli heads from the Amish folks, then headed down to the other end to start my way back up.

The gentleman farmer and his son had so much gorgeous produce laying out that I was tempted over and over. First I picked up a sweet pepper for a pot of chili, then a quart of fresh tomatoes (since my plants are no longer ripening), and a bag of mixed greens for a big salad. But the most irresistible item at their stand were the brilliant red raspberries, fresh from a bumper fall crop.

I stopped short at a small table held by a sweet elderly couple, caught in the snare of the wonderful fragrance of fresh Concord grapes. After some slight wavering, I decided that yes, I did need a quart, and perhaps I would have to learn how to make grape juice, thank you very much!

My visit with the cheerful lady and her lively teenage daughter extended longer than usual, because after I selected some small heads of garlic (I feel another round of pesto coming on) and a bundle of radishes, as well as a small loaf of their spicy carrot bread, I fell into conversation with them about the difficulties local small farmers and organic farmers are facing these days. I was very pleased to discover that my reading of late was right on target, hearing some of the same frustrations and dreams from someone who works a farm for a living.

And, well, I was also very pleased to be able to express my appreciation to a couple of the organic farmers and to celebrate National Organic Harvest Month by sharing some thin slices of my pumpkin-walnut torte with them. After all, I really enjoy all the good food they bring, and I want to support them in any way I can.

That's the true value of what they do.

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