Sunday, July 27, 2014
miss potato head
Miss. Potato Head seems to be having a great day!
In the town near our woodland property there is a lovely little farmers market supplied by people in the local area including the Mennonite community. We try to go as often as we can despite the abundance of produce I get from our CSA. We used to have a neighbor (he has recently moved) near our trailer who was an organic farmer. He comes from an organic farming community and every Saturday we would see him and his mother at their market stand. Chatting with them gave us the "in" with the rest of the farmers at the market who were at first, a bit shy and uncertain about us city folk (I think). Over the years, we've come to look forward to the morning visits and our conversations with the farmers get longer and longer.
This last Saturday I talked with one about the peak freshness of hand-picked raspberries and with another, the benefit of refilling the pickle jar with fresh cucumbers to get longer use out of an excellent brine. An older farmer whose apples we always look forward to had a little photo of the cutest kittens I'd ever seen. He told me that he couldn't even give away these sweeties anymore. No one needs cats in their barns or fields much these days. Roundup herbicide kills everything in the field except the corn. So no use for cats in keeping the mice population in control. While we here in the city theorize about how to resist big agro-business, the farmers of Rusk county of are living the effects on a daily basis. I was humbled by the experience.
Yet another farmer from Maple Hill Farm has been sharing his experience of turning a hobby into a working farm complete with hours open to the public to frolic with the hens, the sheep, the pigs and the cows. We had an extended discussion about the hard boiled egg and we laughed with each other a bit with theories of why white eggs are easier to boil hard and peel perfectly (he suggested wretchedly old eggs and I put forth bio-engineering). We both agreed that even if farm fresh eggs are left in the refrigerator for a month, they are still damn hard to peel. Steaming, he says, is the solution. Peels perfect each and every time. I've bought beef, eggs and sheep milk soap from him and I hope to visit the farm soon.
We've been going to this farmers market for over ten years now. I try to buy something from each farmer I speak to and we end up leaving with a lot because the ones we know well always give us extra and sometimes, for free. In the beginning the experience wasn't as pleasant. No one was rude, no, not that. It's just that they weren't all that chatty. Now I could spend well over an hour in this tiny market with about a dozen farmers. And while I'm getting caught up on all the harvest news, my daughter is running here and there chased and chasing the local Mennonite kids who wear hand made dresses and have flopping braids and nifty caps.