Four Thumbs Up!

May 14, 2011 | 1 comment

It’s A Sign!

     My first experiences with farmers’ markets took place in Europe in the 1950s.  With my (then) husband and young son, I spent a year traveling the by-ways, mostly in a little second-hand Hillman station wagon that we bought in Paris.  We had no plan or schedule – just a map and a copy of Arthur Frommer’s “Europe on 5 Dollars a Day.”
     The best days of all were when we happened to be in a village or town on market day.  If we were really lucky, we woke up before dawn to the creak and groan of carts coming into town to set up in the plaza or village square.  Yes, even in the late fifties, farmers were still hauling their produce and animals (both slaughtered and live) by horse and cart into the market towns.  Of course, there were trucks and cars, too.  And some families – presumably those who lived close by – came on foot, lugging baskets and tubs of everything from ducklings to flowers to freshly dug truffles.
     Market days were magical to my suburban, American eyes!  I don’t remember that we bought much – probably a baguette and some cheese and a piece of fruit for lunch.  But we looked and sniffed and listened and wandered, absorbing it all and delighting in being in just the right place at the right time.
     I loved watching the exchanges between the farmers and their customers.  Some were obviously old friends; some were restaurant or shop owners who were regular buyers.  Quality was discussed.  Haggling was a given.  And, we knew that our meal at the local bistro that night would be fashioned from the best and freshest!
     Mostly, I loved the idea that there were still farmers who made their living by supplying their products to their in-town neighbors.  It put basic consumption of goods back on a human level that makes perfect sense to me – so the opposite of what is happening in our lives today when we think nothing of shopping at an impersonal warehouse where we can get strawberries from Chile in the middle of winter from well-meaning clerks who haven’t a clue.
     So, it was with high hopes that we visited the fledgling Columbia Pacific Farmer’s Market in Long Beach yesterday.  We had missed the opening last week but knew from the report in the paper that it was starting in just a small way – so far only a handful of vendors.  But, we knew them!  And we have seen where they grow their products!  And what was offered, though limited, was literally garden fresh.
     We’ll definitely be going back.  We want to support the efforts and enthusiasm of the vendors and of Long Beach’s hosting.  Two thumbs up from each of us!

1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    I am looking forward to checking out the Long Beach Farmer’s Market. The weather last weekend was not such that we were tempted to wander down to the Ilwaco one, but we look forward to it as we do having the time to go to Astoria’s. It makes me feel good to put money into the hands for the folks who raised the food or made the soap with no middleman getting a cut. In the past I have waxed long on the need to return to a local economy for the health of our bodies, souls and the planet. For that I have been accused of sedition and attempting to destroy America. Hmmm.

    This year the Gig Harbor Farmer’s Market is in a parking lot at an upscale shopping area. I liked it better when it was in a field. Sorry, but it actually is a bit ridiculous. I like Tacoma’s Farmer’s Market, but it’s on Thursdays and until school is out for the summer I can’t take it in, but Dave and Ana may do that one Thursday soon. When I am very fortunate I get to go to the Portland Farmer’s Market. That is like taking a trip to someplace else!

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