Today I had a really good story going…lamenting all of the things I did not accomplish this week: writing for my blog, posting at least twice this week on my blog, working on course-work for at least forty-five minutes each day and not making it to the farmers market on Tuesday or at all in the last two weeks. I held a mini pity party in my honor until I decided to cut out of work early and head to the farmer’s market this afternoon. (side note: my boss knows I cut out early in the name of fresh produce and sunshine.)
When I got to the farmers market and began to peruse all of the fresh fruits and veggies things began to open up; including an urgent desire to sit down and write as soon as I got home. The experience I had at the market today was both enjoyable and really brought some thoughts to the surface. It is important to note that I took twenty-one dollars with me to shop. And after all of my purchases were made, I had five dollars remaining in my pocket. I am still amazed at how reasonably the food is priced. When I got home, I brought all of the food into the kitchen and took stock of my purchases. This is what sixteen dollars purchased: one quart of PA grown green beans, two zucchinis, one purple eggplant, one pint of grape tomatoes, one bunch of kale, a cantaloupe, ten PA grown peaches and a bag of New Zealand spinach.
As I unpacked my purchases I noticed that the cantaloupe had a strong, sweet fragrance that was filling my kitchen, the peaches had a sweet nectar smell and the tomatoes had that slightly sweet, acidic smell that they only have when they are totally ripe and kept at room temperature. Then I noticed that New Zealand spinach looked nothing like the spinach I am used to seeing, and for a moment thought I had instead purchased watercress. Then I snapped off a leaf and tasted it and it definitely was not watercress. So I did what any smart phone owning individual would do…I Googled “New Zealand Spinach”.
My twenty minute shopping trip at the farmer’s market resulted in my learning about a new type of spinach, which I will soon learn to prepare as well. The shopping trip also brought forth a sense of gratitude. Gratitude for fresh and local food. Gratitude for interacting with the people that are actually growing the food I am consuming. Gratitude for being outside in the sunshine on an early September day instead of under fluorescent lighting at the grocery store. Gratitude for reasonably priced food. Gratitude for the money I have to make healthy food purchases.
Other things that emerged from my simple act of shopping at the farmers market: I am meeting friends tomorrow for an overnight camping trip and I am excited to bring the peaches I purchased today. When I am done writing my attention will turn to which vegetables I want to prepare as part of my dinner this evening. I have now accomplished posting one blog entry this week and it includes photos. As I unloaded my car this evening, I said hello to a man walking down my street and as he passed I noticed that the box he was carrying had the words “food bank” printed on it. I am wondering if I would have noticed the words on the box if I was not already thinking a lot about food. I will be carving out time each week either on Tuesday or Friday, to make sure that I am at the farmers market at least once per week. I am fondly remembering my time spent at Scratch Ankle Farm this summer harvesting squash, zucchini and tomatoes. And I feel a deep connection to my grandparents and their families’ who were farmers that intimately knew what it was to plant, harvest and work in the earth.
Learn about the PA Farm Show Complex Farmers Market