Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Farmer's Market Autumnal Farewell

Today is the final Sunday for our little local Farmer’s Market. Like the leaves on the trees, the vendors have been dropping off one by one since October. Only a few hearty souls are left; all the more vibrant and appreciated for their tenacity.

Small though it is, I love our market. Farmer's Markets are everything that is missing from our modern daily lives: authenticity, craftsmanship, and connections. Connections with the craftsman that create; the faces and names of families that grow our produce. I've never had to coax a proprietor to talk. It flows easily from them, as they radiate pride in their wares. The fruits and vegetables are as good as they get, crunchy and full of flavor, not only because they came from a farm just a bit to the southwest of us, but because I put our money into the calloused hands of those that tended those crops.

The only similarity between the vendors is the rectangular footprint of their stall. Everything else is wonderfully distinct from neighbor to neighbor. One man sells wooden squirrel feeders and the next stall is selling distilled spirits—free samples. Which is next to an incredible bakery that makes spicy biscuits and gravy, and amazing breakfast sandwiches of shaved roast, egg, cheese with tangy sauce on a crusty roll. Another sells eggs, but they're all sold out. A forbidding old man has crates of sweet smelling apples. My favorite place to buy plants starts, Our Little Farm and Nursery, is now selling their produce. The OSU Extension Master Gardener patiently awaits the call for her expertise—don't worry, I'm coming. Another craftsman builds beautiful furniture from old oak fermentation barrels. The aroma from the Kettle Korn lures passer-bys in and the gyro guy fills them up. The wood fired pizza stall is a toasty place to warm up your hands while you wait for your three dollar slice of cheese and pepperoni—hunks, not rounds.

Toddlers squeal and escape from their parents, to be chased down and planted on Dad's shoulders. Dogs wind their leashes around their owner's legs as my girls attempt to pat their heads, while dodging licks and bouncing paws. Delicious smells float on the notes of the band, delighting my senses.

We sample some Ambach beer while chatting with the proprietor about his brewing techniques. My favorite is a variety that he infused with old, fermenting, cherries he found in a cask. The cherry flavor is a subtle afterthought of the rich beer. A flavor that would be impossible to reproduce because of it's whimsical nature.

Our tummies rumble. Today we dine on Gyros, Fetzer Sausages on a stick, and a warm buttered biscuit. Our girls dance in circles to the notes rising and falling from the banjo, loosed by the artist bent over it.

Until next year...

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