Thursday, July 15, 2010

APLS: Fun times at the Farmers Market

The Greenhabilitator learns what farmers markets are really all about...

I missed out on the first season of the farmers market here in our new town. Someone, who shall remain nameless (ahem Mr.Greenhab cough cough), told me it stunk. To be more precise, he said it was small with only one or two people selling a few pieces of produce and the rest were selling expensive jelly.

Men. {insert sigh / eye roll combination here}

This year I've been volunteering with our local sustainability group to collect signatures in support of a community garden and, naturally, one of the best venues is the farmers market where people love fresh, local produce. I was incredibly -- and pleasantly -- surprised by what I experienced on my first trip there.

Collecting petition signatures is not for the shy or easily offended. For each "no" or person who ignored me though, I met just as many supportive community members. We shared stories, the statuses of our gardens and how they were affected by the hail storm earlier in the week. I met older community members who had been gardening for decades, and younger members who wanted to learn more about it.

After collecting my signatures, I wandered around the market for awhile picking up some vegetables for the week. One vendor was selling fresh roasted green chillies, which I picked up for my husband. I asked for medium, telling the man my husband would probably prefer the hot, but that I was too wimpy. He laughed and threw in one of his special extra-hot jalapenos for my husband.

While Mr. Greenhab was correct in saying that there weren't an abundance of produce vendors, what he really neglected to explain was the incredible aura of the event. While there, I bumped into two other families we knew from school and caught up on their kids and all the summer happenings. I spoke with a member of the school administration about ways to pair up the school and the sustainability group. I had a conversation with someone from a nonprofit group who was interested in using the excess produce from the community garden for her clients. I met local restaurant owners and sampled their foods and heard all about how the BBQ man ended up here in Colorado from his home in the deep south.

I left the farmers market that day with only a small bag of food, but a heart bursting at the seems with pride in my little town. Where else can you have breakfast, meet your neighbors, snack all day long, buy handmade gifts, locally grown flowers, freshly baked bread, eat lunch with friends you haven't seen in weeks and learn more about others in your community? If you ask me, it's definitely worth the price of "expensive jelly."

This is my submission to the July APLS carnival, which will be hosted on the APLS blog on July 18th.


concretenprimroses said...

Farmers markets are wonderful!
Good luck with your petition for community gardens.

Wendy said...

I love my farmer's market, and it's much like yours - the community, the commeraderie - but we have a LOT of vegetable vendors, who are, for the most part, selling the same sorts of things. I always leave with almost more than I can carry - most of it fresh produce, and I always try to buy something from every vendor to make it worth their time.

A couple of weeks ago, there was a vendor selling perennials, and I asked her about comfrey. She didn't have any she was selling, but she said she had some at her house, which she dug and had waiting for me the next week. Amazing!

I love my farmer's market (did I mention that already?), and I can't think of a better way to spend my Saturday morning ;).

Anonymous said...

I recently visited our un-farmer farmers' market (more accurately, a HUGE produce stand, made up mostly of vendors who sell the same old non-local produce you find in stores). The visit reminded me why I love my little, truly local farmers' market so much!

Daisy said...

It's most definitely worth it! Our farmers' market is sizable; our city is large enough to supper it. The interest in sustainability and local eating is increasing sales for the vendors, too. One of my favorite things to do is, like you, talk to other gardeners and eco-conscious people. It's a wonderful atmosphere. I always buy more than I need. Thank goodness for the freezer!

Anonymous said...

I REALLY REALLY want to get to my local farmer's market this summer. The thing is it's only once a week and it's SOOOO early in the morning. I guess we crunchy types are all supposed to be morning people... I fear I fail miserably at that one. I want a farmer's market that's open 8pm until midnight! :~)

Sense of Home said...

I love the farmer's market but due to board meetings at the same time, (Wed. evening at 5pm), I haven't been able to attend the last couple of weeks and it will be the same thing next week, grrr. I hope to be able to get into the farmer's market routine soon.


mrs green @ said...

Wonderful post; I was right there with you, talking to the people and catching up on the latest news - beautifully written; thank you!


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