I very much believe that every farmers’ market has something for everyone. Finding it is usually part of the fun. Finding a market that you love is a double blessing. You get all the tasty, healthy, seasonal treats from a place and people that you come to know… and often that come to know you, too.
My favorite farmers’ market happens every Wednesday at 3:00 right uptown. It’s not too big, but brings just the right mix of things together to give all of us in Westerville a robust variety of produce and treats. Every farmer and baker and even the apiarist has their spot and we loyal market-goers know just which line to hit up first for that just-right item to fill our bag. You should see the line when the peaches come in; it snakes through and then around the entire length of the lot! Wives plant their husbands in line at one stand and quickly run to another; they shrug and wait, holding all the bags. Often local musicians stop by to entertain. The crowd appreciates the whimsy and often sits to listen while they eat that juicy peach they waited in line so long for. In the hot months of mid-summer people make a beeline toward the ice cream and cool drinks; as the leaves start to fall the lemonade stand gives way to hot coffee. These “rules” are never set, nothing discussed or agreed upon. It’s just part of the market.
I’m so happy to have found my favorite farm at the market. Finding my fit at the market is due in large part to all the fabulous produce I buy there every week. Tomatoes come at the first table, except in the summer when the melons are loaded into baskets at the front of the line. Next are peppers in all colors and shapes imaginable. Squashes, onions, turnips, garlic – the best, longest-lasting garlic I’ve ever bought – basil, my weekly cucumber, carrots, beets when I’m lucky, and finally the greens. ALL the greens! I wait excitedly for the week when the sweet corn starts to come in, and then it does, week after week, truckload after truckload. And I am in heaven.
My weekly meal plan is set into motion at that first stop. What produce do they have in this week? How will I use it? How could I combine it? What about…? How about…? My brain hums and hungers at the possibility and I fill two market bags with healthy potential.