I like to go to farmers markets. According to the Web site www.stuffwhitepeoplelike.com, this definitely makes me a white person (see also "the idea of soccer," "bumper stickers," "unpaid internships," "bottles of water," "standing still at concerts," "Juno" and "scarves").
Anyway. Back to farmers markets. I regularly go to two of them the one downtown and the one held in Murray Park on Fridays and Saturdays.
OK, the downtown farmers market is definitely a SCENE. Yeah, you can buy your fresh fruits and vegetables there. You can also shop for herbs, honey, specialty jams, salsa (m-m-m-m-m), fresh-cut flowers, garden art, daylilies in pots, artisan breads and pastries, bratwursts, homemade candles and soap, essential oils, and many, many cool handcrafted items including (but not limited to) scarves all this while listening to live music.
Meanwhile, your small dog desperately wishes you left him home because he's terrified (TERRIFIED!) of accidentally getting stomped on by people whose arms are filled with organic produce.
But whatever. I've taken my dogs to the farmers market, too, so who am I to complain?
At any rate the downtown farmers market is always great fun especially if you get there early in the morning while the air still tastes cool and lovely and I applaud the Downtown Alliance for putting the whole terrific thing together.
In all honesty, though, I prefer going to Murray Park mostly because it's more of a straight-up, no-frills farmers market. Families roll in from outlying areas (their trucks loaded with corn and peaches, peppers and tomatoes) and set up shop right there in the parking lot.
Some of the vendors are Hispanic fathers and sons and they remind me of my Grandpa Edwards, who supported his large family (14 kids!) as a truck farmer, peddling fruit and berries around this state and in the Four Corners area. Times were tough and people often paid in kind.
PEOPLE: Hey! You give us some fruit and berries, and we'll give you some chickens!
GRANDPA: Yes! Just what I always wanted! Chickens! Instead of cash!
Still, Grandpa Edwards always took the chickens, although sometimes those chickens got away like that time he and my Uncle Don stopped for lunch in Carbon County.
While the two of them were eating, the chickens in the back of their truck quite literally flew the coop. When they discovered what had happened, Grandpa and Don raced through town leaping over fences! Sprinting across front lawns! Getting tangled up in laundry left out to dry! Bagging every spare chicken they could find.
As they pulled out of town, Grandpa took a deep breath and noted, "Donny, I do believe we're leaving this place with more chickens than we had when the two of us first arrived."
(MEMO TO THE PEOPLE OF CARBON COUNTY: Sorry my grandpa and uncle stole your chickens.)
That story always makes me smile. I think of it whenever I take my bushel of peaches and place my cash on the hard heel of a vendor's hand. My grandfather was you once, I want to say with a voice full of memory and love.
But instead I remark casually, "My grandfather was a fruit farmer, too."The vendors don't care, of course. Why should they? But they are kind enough to humor me with a smile.