Yesterday we did a farmers' market in Oxford, OH. It was cold, but not too cold, sunny and windless. A very nice morning for Mid December.
We got to the market and the first thing I did (before setting up our space) was buy 6 dozen eggs from Karen, who sets up next to us and sells pastured eggs and handcrafted soaps. She has some really good eggs, almost as good as our own hen fruit back in the days when we raised pastured eggs. Last market I waited until the end of market to buy eggs and she was sold out and so was everyone else leaving me with 2.5 dozen eggs to last me 30 days. this is why I bought eggs first thing. Probably should have gotten 8 dozen but don't have the fridge space.
I put the eggs on the front seat of the van and started helping Eugene set up. We had a truncated stand. 2 tables with piles of root crops and bushel baskets of onions, garlic and squashes. Also had gourd crafts (wind chimes, rattles, etc).
After set up and waiting on a few folks I continued to buy food. Got some organic lard (yes there is such a thing, from organically raised pigs with no BHT or anything else, just pure rendered fat from healthy, happy, drug free pigs) from the Filbruns. The youngest son, Seth, was doing the selling. I remember when he was a baby and now he is a teenager. Eugene makes some fantastic pie crusts with the Filbrun's lard.
Bought some pastured beef from the S****s. They have the BEST hamburger and this market was the first time they had cuts other than ground beef so I bought some kind of cheaper cut of beef. Talked to them about getting a Cow Share . For $50 I will buy a share of a cow and that entitles me to buy raw, drug free pastured milk for $4 a gallon. Because of a lot of wrong headed thinking raw milk is illegal to sell or buy in most states but farmers in many states have found this cow share idea is a way they can conduct business and sell a wholesome and healthy product to those people who choose to consume such products. I have been looking for a clean source of dairy products and now I have found one and they will deliver the milk to the farmers market so I do not have to drive to Trenton weekly. One day I will write about the wonders of raw milk in the garden and in cooking. It is a very different creature from pasteurized homogenized milk.
One thing I noticed about the market was that it was cold enough for all the meat vendors to bring their wares out of their coolers and freezers and put them on their tables. meanwhile us produce vendors were keeping our wares in our coolers to keep them from freezing. We were lucky that we did a brisk enough business most of the market and it was sunny enough that things on the table did not freeze. I wish I had brought the camera and had gotten some pics of the meat tables. We were selling in a freezer!
After buying all that I was out of money so went back to work and sold things for several hours talked to people saw may favorite dog at the market, Skye. My friend René stopped by and invited us out to her house for a visit. So we made plans to do that after we left the market and than went over to a house we are looking after for some friends.
Market ended. We packed up and went out to check on things at the house. Did things around there for an hour (lit a fire in the woodstove, played with the kitties, shoveled the driveway so we would no slide down it into the highway). Went over to Scott and René's and talked left wing politics for hours (these are old friends who are on the same plane as myself, rare to find good to have contact with). It was a fine tonic to sit around and bash the neocons and discuss how we as citizens can work for positive change. It was a good visit.
Went home at dusk and made a dinner of hot dogs (kosher, hebrew nation), kale and 2 kinds of squash, acorn and buttercup. The kale I bought at Kroger's a week ago and it was fresher feeling last night than when I bought it. It was pretty good Kale but not as good as what we grow. I can be such a food snob. but hey once you get used to the best food going back to lesser quality, well, sucks. The taste just isn't there 9 times out of 10 and if there is not much taste there is not a lot of nutrition. All the food I bought at the farmer's market (and I waited too long to buy Lettuce from Harv) I bought from people I know. I would have bought greens at the market but no one had any Kale or Chard because that is our out of season niche and we did not do any season extension this fall/winter because we moved at the time that stuff had to be planted. In most cases I have been to the farms where my food is grown and have had lots of conversations with these people (because they are my colleagues after all) about how we are growing our food. Let me tell you, my fellow farmers know their stuff when it comes to what they sell. No produce manager at any grocery will have the knowledge that the grower has. I cannot be sure that the kale I bought at Kroger's was not shipped in from thousands of miles away nor that it was not exposed to a lot of nasty chemicals. buying from local growers and artisans I am assured I am getting the best there is. But, any way, I was craving greens and this is the best I can do locally right now.
Next year we will have greens and things will be better.