2 days ago
As much as I was charmed by the endless swaths of sweet peas, the foxglove, yellow lupine, buttercups, a single trillium, it was the Arcata farmers' market that was my favorite stop of the trip. It's had me wondering what makes a good market. Because all farmers' markets are not created equal. I recently left one hungry and empty handed.
One of my favorite things about a farmers' market, which was true in Arcata, were the small farmers. They drove pick up trucks, had hand lettered signs, where there were signs at all and each vendor was its own canopy of creativity. This was not a cookie cutter market but a morning gathering on the square, commerce, friends, food. This was art. There was music, benches, green grass. There were women selling raffle tickets to benefit the local breast cancer clinic. Top prize, a trip to Nova Scotia.
The produce was animated with color; the spinach more green than hundred dollar bills. The carrots bunched in rainbows of yellow, orange, red and white. The food was harvested but still growing. Even the eggs, one araucana green in each dozen, were romantic. The food was fresh in a way that could not be manufactured.
I like finding something new at a farmers market too; that one of a kind item that surprises me. In Arcata it was sand dune honey. It tasted of fog and salt; it tasted of wind.
I like a market with diversity, old farmers, young farmers. A market with character, that's honest; that celebrates a place. I like markets with real food, an extra handful of cherries, bright eyes and rounding that always ends in quarters.
What is it that makes a farmers' market good for you?