Cameron and Samuel darted between meandering legs in the sunshine, and whirled around the poles supporting the tents over the booths of vividly coloured and farm-fresh veggies and fruits, baked goods, honey, cheese, beef, and fish. There were piles of richly burgundy cherries, bright red tomatoes, yellow and green zucchini, bins of salad and cooking greens, bundles of deep purple beets. All was locally caught or grown or made. There was a lineup for the tomatoes! Granted, they’re pretty good tomatoes and that booth had more varieties than the others. Dogs panted in the heat on short leashes.
I had a hard time shifting out of my current thought pattern, of dropping by the grocery store on the way home to purchase what I need for that night. At first I just bought what I wanted right then … but then considered that it might be nice to enjoy it all week. My brain couldn’t handle all week planning, and I know if I just bought and bought that half would go to waste. So I planned two meals, which will give leftovers for another two, plus salads.
I left with raspberries, blueberries, cherries, peaches, carrots, zucchini, broccoli, chard, coho salmon fillet chunks, sheep’s milk cream cheese, brie, and tomatoes. The farm-fresh eggs were so tempting, but I wasn’t sure I could get them home intact. Oh, and bread! Darnit, I forgot to buy the beets.
I do wish we had a farmer’s market similar to the one in San Francisco that Betty and the crew down there frequent. The varieties were limited to pretty much what we see in the grocery store – I think most people don’t realize that there’s more than one type of cherry, peach, and tomato just like we’re accustomed to with apples. While the tomato stand had several varieties they were all variations on a theme – beefsteak, roma, cherry, all bright red. Sure, there was sheep’s milk cheese, but all the cheese was the ‘standard’ type: feta, cream, jack, brie. The fish were the standards too for the most part, salmon and sole, though there was shrimp and lingcod. From the signs at the fish stall I think they occasionally have more exotic items, like octopus, skate, and scallops – probably by-catch. However I do recognize that the lack of variety is because these varieties are what people here are familiar with, and they’re what is grown because they’re what is bought. We also don’t have the population base frequenting the markets yet to support endless varieties of plums and exotic cheeses. At any rate, the market was packed shortly after we arrived and surely got only more so as the day went on. That was good to see. People are listening to the message about buying local. Or possibly jumping onto the trendiness of it. Either way, it’s a good thing. And eventually maybe the different varieties of food available will become trendy too, and we’ll start to see purple tomatoes and plum-peach hybrids.
Coho salmon marinated in lemongrass and peppercorns, whole wheat orzo pasta, local broccoli, with local blueberries and raspberries for dessert along with chocolate soy milk. How’s THAT for a great supper? Cameron needed some convincing on the salmon, but polished off a big plateful and declared it ‘yummy’. There’s still more salmon in the freezer, and leftovers from tonight.