Saturday, October 27, 2007

Market Days

The crisp fall breezes, abundance of pumpkins and addition of hot spiced cider to the Turner Hall stand must mean that another Farmer's Market season is drawing to a close. I hope all of the vendors had a great year because we have certainly enjoyed all of the local goods and produce for the past five months.

Thanks to the efforts of the efforts of tireless supporters and the Main Street Initiative, the market began expanding this year. I hope the vendors found it to successful because from a patron's point of view, it was a very good thing. The addition of non-food vendors like the woman who sells paintings and paints the faces of the young and young at heart as well as non-produce food vendors like Noel's Jams, Didier Honey, Turner Hall and Cafe Claudeen drew my family and others down to the market on a regular basis. We loved the picnic table placed next to Turner Hall's stand. It was a perfect place to gather around, visiting with friends and acquaintances and inviting us to spend more of our morning. All these combined to make the Farmer's Market a destination and event, not just an errand to run.

Let's not forget the produce. From Ken and Luann Parr with their herbs, kohlrabi and arugula to Janet of Simple Abundance Farms with her organic flower arrangements, there is something for everyone. The rhubarb and greens of spring flowed into summer's strawberries from Margherita, bulbs of garlic, fresh sugar snap peas and every variety of tomato and summer squash you could desire. Fall saw us walking home with a bag bulging with leeks, winter squash, onions and beets.

One of our favorite characters at the Farmer's Market is Noel. He creates Noel's Jams and Jellies and has been a staple at the Farmer's Market for years. His jams, jellies and pickles are all made from produce he and his wife grow on their farm, with the exception of the pineapple of course. We recommend the huckleberry, but every flavor we have sampled, from blackberry to currant, has been delicious. Noel is part of what makes the Farmer's Market special. Quick with a smile or a joke for the kids, he supports all the other vendors. He never hesitates to recommend another vendor's goods or to pitch and watch another booth when another vendor has to leave for a minute. There is a real sense of unity at the Farmer's Market, a loyalty between the vendors themselves as well as between the vendors and regular patrons. It is part of what makes market shopping special.

We will miss the Farmer's Market over the winter, but look forward to seeing everyone again in the spring.

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