Check back often for the latest in the market blog below. Feel free to add your own comments to the postings.
Here's a wonderful essay on the market:
To My Farmer’s Market, With Love
I have a passion for things just snapped off the vine, just plucked or dug out of the ground. Holding a newly-picked tomato in my hand, for example, grounds me like nothing else. So shopping in winter for vegetables feels robotic and dull – the tubular lighting leaches energy from me and the food. Everything in the produce section seems to come from someplace else. Mentally I count off the weeks until my farmer’s market opens. February is the longest month.
My ancestors worked the land as far back as anyone can remember. Both my parents grew up on working farms. As a girl I would run with my cousins, barefoot, into my Aunt Veda’s corn fields. I remember that thrilling-tickly feeling of being lost in a giant maze. Looking up at stalks twice my size, I would find a sky so blue it stunned me. I learned quickly to follow the sun out to the perimeter of the fields. How sweet water tastes when you are thirsty and exhausted from fear. How brave I felt, finding my way out, and how much I loved being on that farm.
Family, connectedness – that’s what I long for and the market fulfills my longing. Being in community with others who understand the value of things we nurture from the ground or from an idea – art, crafts – beauty in the raw things, on the edges, in our centers. These things reflect the best of who we are as a species – who we strive to be. I am drawn into the market through all of my senses. I hear mingling and coexisting resonate from the walls and the tress. I smell so many amazing things that evoke memory and desire. I long to put my hands on woven baskets and clay bowls – to linger at the soap table, delighting in that overpowering cloud of pure luxury. Every step into the market brings me closer to the beginning and to the rhythms of our civilizations – through time markets have evolved with human existence. We long to maintain that centeredness so vital to this living planet.
I came to my love of food through my first job: a cook for our church rectory. The Pastor of this church, Baba to those who loved him, embraced life with enormous joy. Baba equated food with pleasure. In Baba’s eyes fresh fruits and vegetables were a divine part of God’s mystery. He loved to explore the farm stands and markets around our small parish, became child-like in his wonder at new varieties of produce. We grew together in the kitchen. Both of us cried when I left the rectory to become a mom.
My daughter teethed on raw salted mackerel and leaned to walk holding my fingers as we picked peas and cucumbers from our kitchen garden. As she got older I would sit her on the counter while we kneaded bread dough, filling our small apartment with sweet yeasty warmth that made us both feel secure and sleepy. In spring we would pick strawberries, getting red sweet juice on our palms and mouths. In fall we climbed old gnarly apple trees with cousins and aunts, filling bushel baskets to the brim with crisp red fruit. In between we visited farm stands and markets close to our home, feasting on simple summer meals. That little girl is now a well regarded pastry chef in San Francisco. She is often seen at farmers markets along Market Street.
When I come into the farmer’s market, my senses kick in, and I walk – I take in everything – children running, chickens in cages next to deep fat fryers and crepes on griddles, straw hats and sunglasses, long baguettes stuck between oyster mushrooms and asparagus in large woven baskets, canopies and tables creating a meandering walkway full of people I know. It is only an hour or two, but this small piece of time on a Saturday morning sustains me, bolsters my reserve for the other hours when telemarketers invade our thoughts with a ringing telephone and you can remain isolated and lonely in the midst of the busiest office, the loudest café. I am drawn like a magnet to this market – every week. It’s embarrassing to admit that I plan vacations as much as I can around market day.
In a world where people are isolating more and pretty much full of fear, we don’t just need our community farmer’s markets – they are urgent and necessary. Only dancing in a contra line or talking with friends late into the night brings me to a place within myself that I associate with the market – this place of joy and intention and groundedness.