The irony is, it’s not been a Lazy Saturday.
I woke up at 6:15 for the third Saturday in a row, an event which is quickly becoming less glamorous each time I do it, and showered. I have to be at the farmer’s market by 7:30, the drive is long, and I enjoy not being rushed in the morning. All these factors add up to me waking up much earlier than most people would in most occasions. Regardless, I geared up on about four hours of sleep and drove to Olmos Basin. (Side Note: Last night was the most sleep I have been in a while–like literally unable to keep my eyelids open).
I got to the market and it was business as usual as I helped Penny set up the stand and helped put up signs for the whole group. I always do my shopping in the beginning because that way I don’t have to take a break later, and the best produce is available to me because I am there first. For fourteen dollars I got six massive tomatoes, a cantaloupe, two cartons of Poteet strawberries, a bag of green beans, five cucumbers, three sweet potatoes, and a head of kale. The prices are so good, and as I get to know the vendors they give me more and more discounts, not to mention free samples throughout the day. It’s funny how the vendors show their pride in their food–they never say “ya, these strawberries are really really good this week,” no, they say “Mark, have you tried a strawberry?” and they throw one at me. After I munch on its soft, speckled sweetness I say something like “dang! that’s really ripe!,” and then they just smile and nod contentedly, cause that’s what they wanted to hear.
I get strawberry samples, kale samples, free watermelon pieces, coffee samples, bits of croissants, and little nibbles of explosive herbs and peppers, which all combine to make me more hungry.I am surrounded by large, plump food, but I can only eat small, whetting samples.
Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.
Work was a little slow today, and Penny and I think it’s because of the heat. Our clientele is mostly geriatric, and I think that they don’t come out of their houses if the weather is too uncomfortable. Still, we are pretty busy and just talk to each other if the going is slow. Our neighbor vendors, one of whom is named Dora, are awesome. They are funny and nice, and love to converse.
I say converse because what they say is designated for conversation. We talk about everything, and they’re genuinely interested and have good responses. They are just really, really good talkers.
Anyway, some of the highpoints of this morning were: seeing a MASSIVE tomato, about half the size of a smaller watermelon. It weighed almost TWO POUNDS and looked amazing. I offered a dollar for it, and I don’t know why I thought they would sell it, let alone for a dollar, but I wasn’t thinking clearly and a dollar seems like a lot for a tomato. But, it’s not and they didn’t sell it to anyone. They kept it, despite my offer.
Another highlight was that I saw another former St. George teacher. My old math teacher, Cheryl Sanders, showed up looking for veggies. She was actually mid-conversation with Penny, talking about herbs, when I had to interrupt. I knew it was her but I wanted to see how she was interacting with other people. She seemed very happy, despite the fact that I know there have been many unavoidable bumps in her life. I was very happy to see she was well and blessed, and she is actually a principle of her own school now, Resurrection (?) I think it is.
A sad, but memorable moment, was selling herbs to an elderly lady who had recently had throat surgery. She had throat cancer and they had to remove her vocal cords, so she literally could not talk. It was heartbreaking. But, that was not all. She also had some sort of lymphatic disruption because her left arm was swollen like someone with Elephantitus. It looked horrendous and painful, and I was speechless looking at her. I could not believe she had the will to go out and do the things she loves after suffering all these hardships. She mouthed that “the other option was worse,” and I agreed.
I got a whole pallet of strawberries for free from Dora, and so I plan on making homemade strawberry shortcake this weekend, in addition to some other things perhaps. For dinner tonight I am making shrimp and polenta with farmer’s market green beans and homegrown tomatoes.
The bad news is that I am not going to Chunky’s to eat the Four Horsemen Burger today. The good news is that I am going to eat the Four Horseman Burger tomorrow!
Pictures to come.