Saturday, June 10, 2006

Market Research

I never tire of saying it: I love my farmers' market.

I love the array of colorful fresh produce, I love talking with the farmers and vendors, and I love the occasional surprises.

I definitely admit to a preference for my own farmers' market since I can get there almost every week and I have already made a connection with several of the growers.

But that doesn’t mean I don't enjoy visiting other markets, too. And since I'm here in Springfield for a few days, I might as well join Sojourner and her husband for a trip to their farmers' market.

(All right, all right, full disclosure: I begged to be taken there.)

While they searched for fresh strawberries and tomatoes and peaches and potted daisies, I wandered up and down the street (two blocks' worth) and carefully examined the stalls.

Along with the usual selections of fresh produce (much of it organic), I also found homemade preserves (vegetables as well as fruit), two bakery stalls, a coffee vendor, plenty of potted flowers and herbs for home gardens, herbal personal care products, and on and on. Sojourner tells me that the full complement of vendors was not present today; she was even hoping to get a quick massage from a stall affiliated with the local hospital, but it wasn't open.

Since I'm a guest and still have a couple of days before I head home, I knew I wouldn't spend madly like I do at my usual market. I did, however, pick up a one-pound bag of shelled pecans (which Sojourner had sent me before) and a pair of lime shortbread cookies from one bakery stand.

I had thought that would be the extent of my purchases, but the other bakery stand had small containers of sample pieces of all their breads, and, well, I sampled.

I particularly enjoyed the piece of tomato-basil focaccia I tried, and the more I thought about it, the more I knew I needed to buy a loaf to take home.

My allegiance to my home farmers' market remains unshaken. You knew that.

But I do enjoy researching other markets!


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