Saturday, June 17, 2006

A Growing Appreciation

It's Saturday morning, and you know what that means: time to strap on the backpack and head downtown for the farmers' market.

I arrived early today, about 15 minutes before they officially opened, but that just gave me time to scout out all of the stands and talk to some of the farmers.

The Original Organic Farmer greeted me effusively and immediately began to apologize: apparently she had meant to bring me a seedling of a plant she had mentioned to me –- an Asian green that she’s raising for restaurants –- and she forgot it. Fortunately, she'll be back next week, and in the meantime, I'll enjoy some of her delicious rose jelly.

The folks with the good local grains were back, so I picked up some whole wheat flour and told them how delighted I was that they were back!

The Bee Man had returned, too, so I stopped to buy a pint of honey and to express my wishes that he'd be back again soon.

The Cheerful Lady and her husband had lots of good organic produce, so I went a little nuts, buying radishes, more of their delicious salad mix (which includes arugula, mizuna, mustard, and/or cress on any given week), a bunch of colorful spring onions, and two quarts of shelling peas for freezing or drying.

I talked with the other organic farmer (the man with the ponytail) and asked when he would have his organic strawberries this season. Alas, he doesn't have a good enough crop to bring to market this year, though he did say I'd be welcome to come out and brave the weeds to pick my own. (Phoenix, are you with me?) I "settled" instead (not that it's a hardship!) for the last of his family's asparagus and the first of their broccoli.

The Amish folks, though, had plenty of strawberries, so I picked up two quarts from them, along with a loaf of focaccia from the bakery.

I lingered at the market to enjoy a blackberry half-moon pie and a cup of pink lemonade from an enterprising young farm boy, and I enjoyed some fine folk music provided by the man with the ponytail, now to be known hereafter as the Fiddlin' Farmer.

What a way to spend a sunny Saturday morning! Each week I find more to love about the farmers' market.

And my appreciation for their home-grown produce is definitely growing.


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