Saturday, June 23, 2007

Meet Market

On sunny summer mornings like this, the only thing I can think of that would be better than visiting the farmers' market is taking a friend with me to enjoy the farmers' market.

Last week, I had the pleasure of introducing my Adorable Nephews to the market and seeing all the produce and crowd and atmosphere through their eyes. This week, I took Dear Reader Tina, a friend accustomed to her own local farmers' market but more than happy to check out local produce elsewhere.

We got a bit of a late start, having lingered over our breakfast of a grits soufflé full of local corn grits, milk, egg, Monterey Jack cheese, and asparagus, and so I endured a good bit of good-natured ribbing about missing my usual early routine. But by arriving just half an hour later at the market, it took over an hour to visit every farmer and vendor (in a small half-block parking lot) because we talked with several of the farmers and ran into many friends and acquaintances.

I managed to fill my basket yet again with all sorts of excellent produce:

--red leaf lettuce from the Fiddlin' Farmer's Wife
--shelling peas, scarlet turnips, big heads of broccoli, basil, parsley, dill, and some Dutch apple jam from the Cheerful Lady
--a chocolate espresso cookie from the bakery
--pickling cucumbers from the Amish Farmers
--whole wheat pita and hummus from the Pita Princess
--cucumbers from the Gentleman Farmer
--a small bouquet of fresh lavender from a new farmer
--a pint of the first red raspberries from the local fruit farm

The farmers' market is a grand social event as well as a shopping event, and you really can't just go, buy your
food, and leave lickety-split. Maybe you'll stop by the coffee house for your morning cuppa, maybe you'll talk recipes with the farmers, and maybe you'll find that every time you take two steps, you bump into someone else you know. But that's part of the fun.

And it's addictive, too. Getting such great fresh produce is something you'll keep coming back for, of course, but the social interaction and the warm community feeling is also addictive.

So once we dropped our finds back at my apartment, we headed back out again, thoroughly hooked on the community spirit, and we headed to the new public library just in time for the ribbon-cutting ceremony. (I said "new" and I mean "new"!) And if we thought the crowd at the farmers' market was big, we hadn't seen nuthin' yet.

After the speeches we couldn't hear, it took us another 15-20 minutes before we actually stepped through the doors and entered the magical world of the Public Library. (And believe me, if you hear kids whining to their parents outside that "I wanna go in the LI-brary!!!" it's magical!) We took nearly an hour to wind our way through all the nooks and crannies of the new space, partly because we wanted to see everything and partly, well, because we kept running into people I knew.

Saturday is definitely the time for socializing, even in a small town like this, and I think Dear Reader Tina (from a bigger city) was much impressed with how much there was to occupy and entertain people here.

So if you haven't yet found or visited your local farmers' market or explored your local downtown, what are you waiting for?

You never know what interesting people you'll meet!


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