The last two Saturday mornings have been beautiful and there’s really no better way to enjoy a beautiful morning than to stroll around the Market Square Farmers’ Market. Urban Woman and I love to get out of bed at the crack of dawn – around 8:30 at our place, drink a little coffee and stumble down in that direction. The music from the Old City Buskers and other musicians tells us we are nearing the square.
This year’s version is heating up a bit with the addition of new crops each week. We haven’t quite gotten to the best of it, yet, since we are still waiting on peas and beans, squash and blueberries, corn and okra, and so on, but more is appearing all the time and the range of products offered which aren’t tied to a particular part of the season is one of the things that make Saturday mornings more fun.
Fresh breads have proliferated with Tomato Head’s Flour Head brand coming on pretty aggressively at markets around town. I still wish we had a full-time bakery downtown, but with the coming of Hot Bagel Company, we’ll move a step in that direction. The other kind of flower is also prevalent at the market with several vendors offering very pretty bouquets. We tend to get one most weeks during the summer.
Of course, many vendors offer non-food items from soaps to pottery, clothing to small furniture items. Many of the hand-made dresses and shirts are beautiful. Some of the apparel is manufactured from alpaca and other hair harvested from domesticated animals owned by the people making the scarves and other items. Newly made items sit alongside re-purposed items.
We have been able to buy some food. Greens are coming in pretty strongly, potatoes and a few strawberries have appeared. Meats seem to be more routinely offered and, generally, it is of a high quality. Peppers by the Pepper Man whose name I’ve never gotten are always there. Honey is back after an absence and the farmers have brought the bees for good measure.
Food trucks have proliferated and now line the eastern section of Union Avenue. I noticed Mr. Canteen was missing from this past Saturday and had it been there, I’m not sure where it would’ve gone. An absolutely perfect Saturday has us buying brunch or lunch from them and either a cup of coffee from Java on the corner or Jeff Scheafnocker in the green cart up by the Market Square Stage. Sometimes I just have to enjoy a Mexican coke from Steamboat and Urban Woman needs a fresh-squeezed lemonade.
Throw in people watching and it’s a pretty full morning. We finished this last one off with Greg Blankenship of Gregory’s Greenhouse. He’s generally by the stage with his Isuzu and a few hundred plants. We bought a beautiful hanging basket and talked to him about what he does. He’s the guy responsible for the beautiful flowers along the 100 block and several of the store-fronts on Market Square including Trio.
I learned a couple of interesting things from him: One was about Tree Gator’s of which the city seems to have found funding for a large number this spring. He said they do nothing for mature trees like the ones planted on Market Square even though the city has them there. He also pointed out the beds around the trees and how they are bare and generally devoid of color. He suggested pansies. I’d suggest the city hire him.
So see, it’s nutritious, entertaining and even educational. And I didn’t even mention what a great place it is to run into friends. Given any choice at all, why would anyone would miss it? I’ll look for you there.