Sunday, September 23, 2007

Veggie Tales

I am quickly falling in love with the American farmer’s market.

Whether it be in New York City’s Union Square, or Washington D.C.’s Dupont Circle—the two cities in which I divide my time—I find a stroll through a farmer’s market to be a surprisingly moving and deeply satisfying experience.

Maybe it has something to do with the sheer variety and creativity of the produce—why do we call the big box stores “super”markets when there is nothing super about their selections in comparison to these outdoor stalls?

Maybe it has something to do with the organic nature of the offerings—fruits, vegetables and meats free of the pesticides and preservatives that have become a nearly inseparable part of our food consumption.

Maybe it is the undeniable beauty of the offerings—brightly lit produce in shapes and sizes and colors that I find simply gorgeous to behold.

Maybe it is because I gain some sort of liberal satisfaction from dropping my cash into the very same hands of the farmers who pulled or plucked the bounty from the earth.

Or maybe it is because choosing the food from such places speaks to me on a far more primal level. Such markets both enthrall and pain me because I recognize those deficiencies in my daily habits that an urban lifestyle rarely accommodates. It reminds me how far from the earth I live and how much on which I miss out. The closest I come to growing my own food is a basil plant in the windowsill.

As a child, my grandparent’s vegetable garden seemed such an anachronistic throwback, unnecessary and redundant. Now it is an enviable earthy shrine. To nurture, tend, cultivate, harvest and ingest something I planted with my own two hands is a dream…a simple dream…I have.


Blogger GlacierGirl75 said...

Couldn't agree more.

If you haven't already, think about joining a CSA program (Community Supported Agriculture) - a lot of the farmers market vendors in DC offer them. Star Hollow Farms has a good one--I pick up a box of seasonal and organic goodies at the Adams Morgan Farmers Market on Saturdays (if I'm in town). The cost is deducted from my initial upfront payment.

Definition of CSA according to USDA: "CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community's farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or 'share-holders' of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer's salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm's bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production."

1:03 PM  
Anonymous nate said...

I agree.
I now work everyday with beans that grow from specific places in Latin America and that we shape into chocolate bars. Check it out.

8:35 PM  
Anonymous nate said...

I will tell you more on the phone. It's pretty cool.

8:35 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

mmmmmm...there's something about the smell of a farmer's market and the atmosphere in which you meander through. Me? I love to feel the fruits and vegetables, smell the fresh herbs, taste the various samples. It's a place of connection, a place of community - so rare to find these days as we hustle and bustle never taking time to stop and smell the roses - which I love to do there also.

10:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

= ) I've also fallen in love with farmer's post to read, Brandon. : ) I totally understand the sentiments you describe. And, that's a fantastic photo you put up for the post!!

Daria : )

2:25 PM  
Anonymous Barry said...

Just be careful over at that Union Square Farmer's Market...The red headed girl who sells the flowers is not as innocent as she looks...take it from me!

10:57 AM  

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