Saturday, January 26, 2008

Market day

The sun has been mostly out today and I've been so relieved. I know we can probably use all the rain we can get -- even if it causes flooding -- but when it's been raining all week and the forecast has the rain continuing for at least another week, a break feels really good. And hey, on a somewhat related note, did you hear about the avalanche in Southern California? I just like to say that -- there was an AVALANCHE in Southern California. It's the kind of thing I associate with the Alps or the Himalayas, not the land of Baywatch and Hollywood. Totally trippy.

Anyhoo, the break in the rain meant that I got to visit my local farmer's market. Actually, I'm lucky to have two year-round farmer's markets within spitting distance of my house, but it's the Saturday morning one in San Mateo that's my favorite. Even in winter when there aren't a lot of foods naturally in season, we can get tons of locally-grown fruits and vegetables. Today I kept it simple, picking up onions, garlic, broccoli and broccoli rabe (or rapini), mandarin oranges, sweet potatoes, and a lovely bunch of tulips. I still had salad greens, green onions, strawberries, and grapefruit leftover from going to the market last week. It's a literal cornucopia.

Most people think that vegetarians eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, but that has not always been the case for me. I go through phases where I eat mostly grains and legumes or I'm heavy on the dairy, which never makes me feel good. So right now I'm placing a huge emphasis on fruits and vegetables -- not only does it make my diet much more colorful, it's much more flavorful as well. Almost every meal is a delicious treat -- last night, Sean got stuck working late so I "whipped up" Savory Loaf (a grain side dish that is truly savory), a beautiful green salad with toasted pine nuts and gorgonzola cheese, and a baked sweet potato. It was incredibly simple, but simply delicious. This weekend's highlights will include a veggie fried rice with toasted almonds and a red lentil soup. It makes my stomach rumble in anticipation just to think about it.

While the spectacular array of foods and flowers available is my primary reason for going to the farmer's market, it also just makes me feel good to be there. There's such a sense of community, reinforced by occasionally running into people I know. Lots of families and couples and friends and individuals walking around, interacting with the people selling their wares, mostly with smiles on their faces and a spring in their step. There's also a sense of sustainability, as at least half of the attendees are carrying "permanent" grocery bags from Whole Foods and Trader Joe's or baskets and bags purchased just for the market, and everything is coming from relatively local farms. And finally, there's a bountiful sense of self-nurture, like I'm doing something that is good for me and just the act of doing it already makes my body feel better. Utilizing my purchases is almost like a bonus instead of being the purpose.

Apparently there are 90 farmer's markets in the Bay Area -- wild. I feel blessed to be in an area of such abundance. But farmer's markets are cropping up all over the country, too. When I visited my family in Rome, Georgia last summer, my aunt and I went to an early morning farmer's market at a local church. While it was mostly people with large gardens sharing their extras, it was still a testament to the power of community. I was happy to be able to support the locals in their endeavors, and kind of wished I had a fledgling farmer's market that I could support at home too. But large or small, professional or amateur, I always look forward to market day, to the feelings it engenders and the spoils I get to take home with me. Namaste.

1 comment:

Lita said...

Hi Jenn,

Your writing has such a tranquil, peaceful and colorful quality to it.

Anyway, I felt as though I were right there with you, at the farmer's market ... what a fun experience :)