Saturday, August 25, 2007

Making the Rounds

Every week I try to fill you in on the details of the farmers' market and the produce I bring home. But I'm never quite sure if I can adequately capture the true sense of being there -- getting to talk with the farmers, savoring all the sights and smells and tastes, listening to good music, and meeting friends old and new.

No matter what my week has been like -- busy, stressful, aggravating, exhausting -- as soon as I set foot in the market and see faces light up when I approach to inspect the week's produce, I feel like I've come home. People here care -- about the work they do, about the food, about each other, about the the customers they've come to think of as friends.

So I took my sweet time wandering around this morning, talking with people about my family, my birthday dinner, heirloom tomatoes, canning, an imminent birth (the Bistro Chef and his lovely wife are expecting), the onset of the school year... everything. And while we talked, I figured out what I wanted to take home for the week's meals and for preserving.

And believe me, there was a lot to want!

--red peppers and fresh parsley from the Fiddlin' Farmer;
--more paste tomatoes, red peppers, and garlic from the Cheerful Lady and Handyman Joe;
--an espresso brownie and a lemon-almond muffin from a new personal chef business (run by a very personable couple);
--herb pasta, dried thyme, and a few heirloom tomatoes from the Herb Lady;
--an adorable pie pumpkin from the Potato Lady;
--okra, paste tomatoes, canning tomatoes, lettuce, and cucumbers from the Gentleman Farmer's Wife (and yes, I've got to come up with a better nickname for her!); and
--Bartlett pears from the Madcap Farmer, a new farmer who I actually knew as a student at the college and whose brother owns the local Bistro.

Yes, as you might have guessed, most of what I hauled home (at least weight wise) is for preserving. I decided to do another round of tomato sauce and canned tomatoes, just to give me a nice cushion for the winter, and later in the week I may well make pear jam or some such delicacy with those beauties.

(I may also have to check out the personal chef business further and treat my Wonderful Parents to a home-delivered dinner one of these days!)

But the best thing that came home from the market with me is the thing that I always get and never have to pay for: happiness.

And when my Saturday starts off on such a good note, there's no telling what I might do with the rest of the weekend!


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