Berkeley Farmers' Market

Saturday I visited my friend, the demographer, in Berkeley. We went to a movement class down the street from her loft, because that's what you do in Berkeley, and then we went to the farmers' market. Because that's what I do wherever I am.

At the farmers' market I filled my pockets with the best kumquats I've had all year, carried away a pound of Santa Rosa pecans and a dozen brown eggs. And after sampling Bariana balsamic vinegar I came home with a bottle of that too.

I picked up potatoes for dinner from a central valley farmer, which weren't as tasty as the Petaluma potatoes I've gotten used to. Although how I could tell is debatable as the aloo gobi I'd put them in suffered from way too much fenugreek. (So much for following a recipe!)

The demographer and I drank Indian chai in the sun listening to a bluesy trio. Small children danced.

On the way out I chose a brown bag for home recycling from the box of bags that sits in the middle of the market for the taking.

All of which was enjoyable but the two best things about the market weren't its food.

The first was we left our cars at a car wash run by Options Recovery Services and walked the few blocks to the market. Only if you've experienced parking for this market will you fully appreciate that statement - that we left our cars there. No endless circling for a parking spot. Even better than the kumquats.

And the men at the car wash made our cars shine. I would have paid the $15 tax deductible donation just to park there or hang out for a while. The parking lot was a carnival of buckets, hoses, soap suds, grateful guys and good will. The clean car was a bonus.

Nearly as good was the group at the market creating buzz and selling subsidized worm bins. Enthusiastic, young guys with earrings talking up vermicomposting to a constant parade of marketers. People were peering into bins, kneeling down and picking up worms, asking questions. Taking away pamphlets.

As much as I love the farmers' markets for the local and sustainable food, the commerce and community that springs up around them is a big part of the story.

5 comments:

Green Bean said...

Great point. You go to the farmers' market for the food but stay to enjoy the conversation, the musicians, and the community.

Olivia said...

Katrina...Okay, I'm baffled by the last two photos. A purple root plant, and possibly a sunflower? You have way too much fun at these Farmer's Markets...and car washes.
I know envy is one of the seven deadly sins, but I confess, I'm ever so envious of your romps through the many FM's of the Bay Area. Love, O

kale for sale said...

green bean - Don't forget the car wash. Well, only in Berkeley on Saturdays. There's one market in the city where there's a bank of chairs to get your shoes shined although I've never done it. But I make a point to say hi. It's got to be their best day of the week. Not because I say but because there are so many people. Thanks for getting what I was saying because I wasn't sure I'd said it right.

Olivia - These are kohlarabis. Check out Melinda's blog at Elements of Time in my sidebar. I think she has recipes for them. The other picture is a winter squash after months in the pantry. It was delicious. Come romp the markets with me!

innercitygarden said...

My Mum used to leave her car to be washed at the market here, it was a job training thing run by a charity, but sadly the land was sold from under them. Then the carwash was demolished, and apartments were built, which are much less useful from my perspective.

kale for sale said...

innercitygarden - I think we all like an opportunity to lend a hand and a car wash for charity or job training is an easy everyday idea. It works every which way you turn it. I guess the glass half full is now the people who live in the apartments get to shop at the market. That's good.