Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Farmers' Market heaven

I have loved farmers' markets since I was a small child. My mom took me to the Amherst Farmers' market when I was little, and on a rare occasion, someone had a box with free kittens. For years I happily attended with her, looking for kittens and consoling myself with a box of strawberries when I couldn't find them. When I got older I would drive home from Boston early on Saturdays so that I could get my fruits and veggies there. In retrospect it's unusual that a small town even had a farmer's market in the '70s, but this was a hippy college town in a rural area after all.

My opinion soured on farmers' markets when I moved to fancy suburbs. In Newton and Chevy Chase, attending a farmer's market is more like a contact sport. Miserable. Recent memories include elbows flying, long lines in humidity, overpriced tomatoes, strict rules about what can be bought and how.

However, after a trip to Trader Joe's recently when I looked guiltily at huge strawberries from California and put them in and out of my cart several times, I vowed to attend one of the local farmer's markets. Bethesda has many - including some new ones.

So on Sunday morning Natasha and I went to a new one. We went to Giant to purchase birthday party supplies and then walked over a new farmer's market on Elm Street. I was really feeling badly that we didn't take our bikes. We easily could have. But after I got over that I had a fabulous time. We had a beautiful sunny day, we were puttering, Natasha tried the tomato samples. I told her she could get a cookie. There was fresh grass-fed cow ricotta, lovely whole grain sour dough mini-loaves, fabulous strawberries (I ended up with both the California and local strawberries and by today, Tuesday, they're all almost gone). There were these huge gorgeous stainless steel tubs of various greens - triple washed even (even the crunchy farmers are starting to get customer service and convenience). However I think the main reason I felt so happy and uplifted is that it wasn't crowded. We were able to really take our time. I didn't even watch Natasha the whole time (Apologies to the young woman at the bakery). Next week I'll take photos. But puttering, learning, tasting, chatting and meandering is a relaxing, cathartic experience, very different from trudging around a crowded supermarket or even a crowded farmers' market. I'm hoping my secret goes undiscovered.

No comments:

Post a Comment