What a gorgeous bounty of food.
Yesterday morning, my husband and I made our way to the park to join the wandering masses making their way through farmers’ booths, bakery stands, and stalls of homemade goods.
I picked out most of the produce we will eat this week. We already had an avocado, red potatoes, limes, lemons, squash, sweet potatoes, a bit of lettuce, and a tomato at home. As you can see above, I purchased lavender, peaches, cabbage, leeks, lettuce (oh my goodness, one of the best local purchases you can make), asparagus, radishes, broccoli, blueberries, beets, carrots, cucumbers, and blackberries. I also bought a cup of cool mint tea to sip as we shopped, a wedge of cheese for our next wine party (each person contributes money to attend), and four cilantro plants. The total came to $59.
One of the farmers was late to the market; he said it was because they’d only finished picking the vegetables an hour earlier. Another had blackberry stains on her fingers from just plucking the berries we purchased from her. One of the farmers’ teenage sons, who was running his family’s booth, gave us a discount “because you’re here every week.” I had a conversation with another farmer about how I’d taken to roasting radishes, which mellows their pungency with sweetness. He asked for details on my process so that he could go home and try it. When I complimented one of the farmers on how well the hydrangea he’d given us the previous week had held up and suggested that he tell potential customers I’d said so, he insisted I take more hydrangeas home this week as a gift.
How long were we there? I couldn’t tell you. Thirty minutes? An hour? It was so pleasant shopping under the shade of the breeze-tickled trees, warm sun peeking through at intervals, babies napping in strollers or watching the many leashed dogs trotting through beside their owners. I had no desire to hurry it up, to try to be efficient as I often do making my way through the grocery store, hugging myself to keep warm.
When we got home, I sat down and ate half the blueberries while chatting with my husband. The berries were so ripe and lovely, giving way in my mouth with each sweet bite. When I stop to think about it, I am so amazed at the beauty and diversity of what air, soil, water, sunlight, and a little seed can create—often with the hard work of a farmer, of course, especially a farmer who isn’t using chemical fertilizers or pesticides to keep the plants healthy. But just the sheer variety of what edible plants exist on this planet, or even in my area—it’s wondrous.
The food is put away now. Dan is outside potting the cilantro as I type. The hydrangea are tucked in a cobalt blue glass on the table. The peaches sit in the windowsill, where they’ll finish ripening. I just need to plan our meals for the week now, to make grateful, celebratory, and health-giving use of this abundance of local foods.