So it’s Monday morning and I’m drinking my coffee and thinking about all the stuff I have to do today as I robotically perform all my little kitchen chores like emptying the dishwasher and gathering up Sunday’s newspapers to recycle and ferrying folded laundry to the appropriate locations.
But what’s different about this Monday morning is that I keep walking by the lone yellow tomato leftover from my outing to the farmer’s market Saturday morning and I can’t help smiling. I had such a GREAT time at that farmer’s market. My food senses, which had been dulled by way too frequent trips to the grocery store to gather piles of boxed foods to feed the voracious appetites of my teenage eating machines, were finally stimulated again.
I remembered that farmer’s markets are like museums where the food is nature’s art.
Only at a farmer’s market do you learn the stories behind the food. One proud farmer, who ran out of fresh eggs before we got to his booth, displayed a photo album of his chickens and explained to us how one variety of his hens have little colored discs on their heads that indicate the color of eggs they will lay. He showed us their big, beautiful coops, their pastures and the places they roost in the shade to get away from the heat. He pointed to photos of his children on a tractor. “My helpers,” he called them. He told us that in the summer, when demand for his eggs is the highest, the chickens lay thirty to forty percent fewer eggs.
These are all things I’ve never learned at my local grocery store. At the farmer’s market, food is personal. I love that.
Here’s what I bought:
Organic blueberries that were picked the day before. Sweet yellow tomatoes. Homemade butternut squash ravioli and sundried tomato fettuccine. Fresh eggs from a vendor who hadn’t yet run out, possibly because his eggs were $.50 more than the other guy’s. Pattypan squash. An enormous cantaloupe. Fat, juicy peaches. Blackberries. Pain au chocolate. Cinnamon and sugar challah bread. And sausage and egg breakfast tacos (not pictured because they were immediately scarfed up by the teenager home at the time).
Here’s what I would have purchased if everyone else hadn’t gotten there first: lemon rosemary bread.
Here’s what I want to purchase next week when I know to bring a freezer bag: mojito popsicles, grass-fed ground beef and pork.
Here’s what else I learned from my first visit in years: Wear a hat. Go earlier in the morning. Bring more cash.
If you haven’t been to a farmer’s market lately, make a plan to go. It’s a great date location. The people and dog watching are added bonuses. And by all means bring your kids with you and watch their eyes light up when they bit into a warm, juicy peach.
I think I will go cut up a peach to put on my breakfast oatmeal right now. And then I will add the last few blackberries.