The noisy giggles of small children. Dogs waiting patiently out front for their shopping humans to come retrieve them. People drinking gingery green juice freshly masticated from the juice stand, their straws filling with bright green the hue of cut grass. Like so many things that are good for me, I often find myself neglecting the farmers’ market. And yet when I make the effort to go, and fill my tote bags with lacinto kale, and mushrooms, and all sorts of bright and lovely things to be cooked up in my wee kitchen, I feel pure joy to be amidst all of those fresh things and those friendly people selling their wares.
When Chris and I lived in Mountain View, we went to the farmers’ market every single week, almost without fail. We cooked a lot then; we made a lot of ceviche and ate a lot of quinoa with vegetables. The farmers’ market was, compared to the one we go to now, enormous, with rows of stalls and excited folks filling their bags and baskets with sustenance. I always bought flowers there. In the winter, I would stand at the oyster booth and eat my fill of oysters, shucked by a tiny gal with dark hair who was more expert with a shucking knife than I ever could be.
I associate that market with people I love. One of my best friends, Anna, and I would sometimes go when our fellas were too sleepy to get out and about for shopping, and I enjoyed the company. Another time Jessalyn and I went wandering through the aisles and she introduced me to kale. Imagine! I’d never had kale before. I bought it that day and I’ve been eating kale since. And, of course, there’s Chris, who’s usually the one to nudge me into heading market-ward when I’m more inclined to be a homebody. “It always makes you so happy,” he says. It does, even when I don’t buy anything. It, as they say, does my heart good. (I wrote “does my heart god,” which is a slip that I don’t mind.)
How about you? Do you have farmers’ markets where you live? What are your favorite stalls, who are your favorite sellers? Where do you buy your produce?