Small town Farmer’s Markets are nothing like the yuppie “open-air markets” of the coasts. Real farmers negotiating the costs of imperfect goods and complaining about the weather. That’s a small town market. A reason for local farmers to come together and socialize. To bond.
My Grandfather is one of those farmers. He drives 40 minutes every summer Sunday to a small town just west of his property. He sets up a folding table and baskets of cucumbers, peppers, sweet corn, jellies, eggs and home baked bread. His wife totes around a small fanny pack with change and gossips with the rest of the farmers who come from all over the area. My 80-year-old grandfather sits in the back of his truck and watches people as they study his goods. It’s a show in and of itself.
My husband and I venture to the small town a few times a summer. This summer has been especially hard for us to get there since I’ve been working nights and the baby doesn’t exactly like mornings. But we finally made the trek this last weekend and it was worth the ride.
We sat with my Grandpa behind his booth as he explained each key player in the market choreography. He pointed out a a little old woman marching from one side of the market to the other with a stern look on her face. He whispered that she was a 102 years old. Laughing, he told us of the lady’s 86-year-old daughter who also braves the market regularly. He pointed out the “foreign” lady down the way who bakes kolaches and pies from her small kitchen while supplying a seemingly endless supply of little boys for her husband. And the old farmer parked nearby with the baskets of peaches and sun-baked cowboy hat.
We listened and laughed, all the while wrestling rocks and sticks out of Jilly’s mouth. Baby appeared to be enjoying herself as she fumbled around the market, grabbing anything within reach and talking to anyone who would listen.
Justin wasn’t much better as he immediately located a booth of baked goods and proceeded to purchase half-a-dozen kolaches and an entire rhubarb pie.
I happened upon a man made of eggplant and immediately wanted him. No dice.
We stayed as long as baby’s outfit could take, but soon she was coated in dust and dirt. She had successfully gummed a dozen rocks and a handful of small potatoes. How many she actually consumed…I’ll never know.
I hope to make it back atleast once more this summer. I always feel more connected to my food and home at the farmer’s market than I ever have at the grocery store. And I guess as I get older and my daughter starts to wear big girl clothes, that feeling matters much more to me than the quick drive to the local store.