I haven’t visited a farmer’s market for a couple of years now.
Not because I’m a snob or anything, but because we usually put up enough garden to keep me busy most of the summer. Usually by now I’m so darned sick of canning that I’m actually thinking fondly about the first frost.
But this year…
Well, it hasn’t been kind to say the least.
It stopped raining sometime in May. In June, the heat ramped up, and July has been the hottest one on record since that pleasant little time in history known as the Dust Bowl. Ah, fond memories.
Oh, and then the grasshoppers came.
So, what the heat didn’t get has been consumed by the little scissor jaws of those plague refugees. The tomatoes have been trying, but any blooms either got eaten or went dormant in the heat before they could produce any fruit. My one melon plant has been the star of the garden. Let’s not even talk about the potatoes and onions.
So for the first time in a long time, I don’t have any tomatoes. To the farmer’s market I go.
I found some lovely tomatoes, some really cute eggplant and a couple of squash that called my name, and next to the tomatoes were…
I’ve been craving fruit lately, likely the result of being deprived in my own garden. So I went literally on point like a bird dog in tall grass when I spotted them. I apologize to the little old lady who got the brunt of my elbow.
I circled them, sniffing, warily, having been burnt before badly by grocery store fruit.
But dang, they looked good. Fuzzy, imperfect little golden red orbs that promised ultimate peachiness. Did I dare?
I thought tasting all of them might be bad form, so I settled for passing my hand over them, trying to asses their mojo telepathically. Failing that, I picked up several of them to test their weight, their firmness, their…peachiness.
I was starting to draw a few strange looks, so I grabbed a half dozen of them, collected my tomatoes and other veggie allies, and checked out.
I have a forty minute drive home. I didn’t make it five minutes before those peaches started calling to me from that little plastic bag on the passenger seat next to me. I resisted for a while.
Like thirty seconds.
I actually ran a red light because to stop might mean braking too quickly and spilling all that produce onto the floorboard of the car. I threw out my hand in the Parental Red Light Fling, but once I got my hand on the bag, I sort of never let go.
What can I say, I have no will power.
But, if that peach is really all it promises in peachiness, eating one in the car would likely be a juicy, sticky mess. But what if they weren’t all that good? Disappointment warred with optimism and hope and the desire to not have to clean my seats.
I grabbed one and dove in.
And wasn’t disappointed in the least. That peach was everything it’s farmer’s market heritage promised, juicy in that tartsweet, complex way any fruit that hasn’t been ripened by some god-awful chemical means should be. Fuzzy and tickly, it was just about the best thing I’ve tasted in weeks.
Oh, and did I mention juicy?
What do you know, it is physically impossible to lick your own elbow. I tried, much to the alarm of the lady in the lane next to me.
I ate that peach with the relish of a starving woman and managed to not trash my car seats in the process.
Now, what about those tomatoes….Okay, that might be pressing my luck a bit.
But I’ll definitely have to go back next week and see what the farmer’s market has to offer! I should just be out of peaches by then.
Do any of you shop at farmer’s markets? Or grow your own garden? Does it beat what you can get at the UltraMegaMartChain stores or not? Tell me what you think, and hugs for dropping by!
Callene (heading to the shower to remove the last dregs of…peachiness!)