Sep 25, 2011

To Market, To Market

My friend sells at flea markets and farmer's markets to make her living - I used to sell at a Saturday Market, for a dozen years, I think - I willfully cannot remember - it was just too much work and I didn't really make any money for the hours I spent. I was selling the concept of home composting.

Composting is a truly great way to recycle waste into useable product, but it is work, and it requires dedication and management.

But that is not this story - this story is about how much I enjoy going to the farmers' market still - not just to support the community of Saturday Marketeers, who still think of me as one of them, maybe not just because I like the vegetables, either, or the people - I'm a bit too shy, I think; though I do enjoy people watching, that isn't the attraction.

Is it the participation in the changing seasons? Is it the fleeting chance to get a good value, a good find (like the goat's milk body creme that feels sooo great?) or the huge onions and broccoli heads at dollar apiece or the potatoes, grown in the 22 hours of daylight storing more smooth sweetness than any potato on earth?

Most of the farmers grow organic in the Matanuska Valley, a land rich in glacial till, so full of mineral silt that no chemical fertilizer is required. The high mineral content of the vegetables makes them exceedingly tasty and highly nutritious... I mean healthy, hale, hearty, robust, wholesome, salubrious goodness. Not that that is what I'm thinking when I choose, but it is what my body knows when I consume.

I often spend the day preparing a vegetable stock that doesn't even need butter or salt (I made bread with the softened vegetables once that was a hit with co-workers) the next day I roast, and steam, and eat raw. The vegetables, I mean.

Mom will eat the potatoes cooked in the stock (I mash carrots and other veggies into the taters, things she wouldn't usually eat) but today I put some brie in the stock for creaminess - it had gotten warm when the old refrigerator died but I rebelled at throwing it out. I did a taste test, first, before I used it, to ensure the compromised brie did not have a psychotropic fungal component. This is the time of year we get to play with the fun in fungi, yes?.

If the advanced aging of the poorly-kept brie was psychotropic, the actual effect seemed to be alertness with a craving for more. The tangy-ness is heady to me - I craved its seduction; its provocation; its promise wasn't false: the soup is savory, satisfying, a sweet completeness to the weekly visit with my farmers as we near the season's end.

We know it's only a few more weeks so I have been promised an extra stock of Brussels sprouts and a burlap bag of the good potatoes. Next week I get all the green tomatoes left because it will probably frost by then and there's no keeping stuff like that for the future (she grows the sweetest carrots, too, so make a note) and if I show up at the end of the day maybe she'll give me some of the bruised things that haven't sold.

To market, to market; I'm living the good life.

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