Speaking of fun, yesterday was the second week of the Maryville Farmers' Market. It's every Saturday, from now until the weekend before Thanksgiving in what they optimistically call Founders' Square, a parking lot between a row of stores and the CBBC building downtown. Last year, I worked the Blackberry Farm booth almost every Saturday with Jeff Ross, the Garden Manager.
This year, I had to bow out, because my production goals have tripled or quadrupled--no one has been clear on that point yet-- and I can't give up any more Saturdays. This Saturday, however, I had my new assistant Abby, and I wanted to touch base with my farmers. I walked around and talked to old friends, got hugged and placed orders. When I came back to the BBF booth, the line looked like this:
It got longer, and lasted for 25 minutes, while Jeff, Abby and I did the farmers' market dance. We line up, the farthest left person asks the first person in line what they'd like and they move on down, while the next of us moves up to the left and the next customer. It's a dizzying dance, one done with math going on simultaneously. Bread is $4 a loaf, those cakes are $3, that's $1 each, that one is Jalapeno Cheddar Sourdough, the peanut butter is $5, no blackberry jam yet, sorry. And at the end of the line, the total is sometimes in my head, sometimes I have to back up and recount. It's the quickest half hour of the week, and suddenly, no one is left in line. Last year, I would stay and help Jeff with the stragglers or go shopping for vegetables to preserve, but yesterday, Abby and I cut out as soon as the line was gone. I hope we can do it from time to time this summer, but that seems unlikely.
I hope everyone has an opportunity to visit their local farmers' market. Farmers need us to support them in what I hope is an ongoing shift from mega-industrial farms back to small farms using sustainable practices to give us the healthy, clean food we need, and an earth we can continue to live on.
Eat your veggies!