I cannot believe it is already the end of April. Where DOES the time go? Presently, the weather is fine here where I live. The temperature is just right, not too hot, and not too cold. A fair amount of rain is welcome after years of drought in California. The most exciting thing for me is that our local farmers market is literally blooming. Someone recently told me that she feels intimidated to go to the farmers market because she feels that she is not "foodie" enough. It has been over 15 years since I started going to farmers market, and I do remember feeling the same the first few times I went to the market. It can be intimidating. Not because of the farmers or produce that are sold there, but because it is something different, and it is a different way to shop. At the market, you don't go through isles without looking at other people, put things in a cart nonchalantly, and pay at the end, while only making small talks with a cashier who has little connection to what you are buying. I remember feeling nervous talking to each vendor, not knowing what is in season, and not knowing what to buy. I did not want to seem imprudent, but I am sure I did sometimes. But that’s okay, it was a learning experience. What I discovered, after overcoming my fear, was that the farmers and vendors were very friendly, and they are proud and love to talk about what they are offering.
Now, on Saturdays, I wake up early to go to the market. Sometimes my girls come with me if they are awake. The first thing I do is say good morning to our egg and sausage farmer, April. She also has yummy jams & jellies. We chitchat for a few minutes about her produce, her work (she is actually a music teacher), and our families. Then I visit our main produce farmer, Greg and Susan. They’ve known our oldest daughter since she was 2 (now she is almost 7). They call her their "blueberry girl" as she loved to eat blueberries. They would give her a basket of blueberries, and she would stroll around eating them around the market. Now, her little sister is doing the same. Greg and Susan have great variety of fruits and vegetables: berries, cherries, stone fruits, green leaf vegetables, varieties of squash, onions, etc. Whenever it rains, I think about them as their farms have suffered greatly during the drought. It seems, though, that it will be a good year for them. I always find it hard to resist buying everything they offer. Right now, their berries are sweet, and cherries are showing up. Their stone fruits are pretty sweet for April. Their green leaves always look scrumptious, and the herbs make my car and kitchen smell so good. We say bye to them, and go down to buy our weekly fresh fruits juice from Emanuel. The girls love getting samples from him. It is great to be able to give my girls juice without feeling guilty. We usually buy fruit juice from him, and he also has healthier choices such as green juice, and turmeric and ginger shots. We then say hello to a few craft venders, and bakers. In April, we also buy asparagus whenever we see them. Along the way, my girls are stopping by each vendor to get samples.
Our last stop is usually at the Murray Farm’s stand. Their cherries are out of this world. I heard that they are offering pick-your-own cherries this year, which has not been offered for the last few years due to drought. We will be sure to be there, believe me. Their farm is equipped with hay rides, a maze, a butterfly house, play grounds for kids, and much more. We visit their farm at least a few times a year.
By the time we finish, my hands are full of great produce and goodies. When I get home and place everything we bought on the kitchen counter, I feel so rich and fortunate. Needless to say, Saturday lunch is always full of fresh local produce.