Heavenly harvest

Ponder This

June 10, 2014 

Following countless failed attempts to procure quality organic produce without the inevitability of surrendering an entire paycheck in exchange, I reluctantly proceeded to attend our local Thursday farmers market.

Having preconceived notions of overripe, battered, overpriced, toxic-pesticide riddled products, I skeptically made my way through the True Value parking lot with ample trepidation. Much to my astonishment, I was met with a sensory tickling banquet.

Beautifully arranged stands of freshly harvested green onions, lacey bunches of fragrant flat leaf parsley, brilliant sunflower-yellow-and-jade striped squash lined the tables as I wandered about. Plump emerald zucchini stacked in wooden grape trays, beckoned me to craft a batch of my infamous fritters, and suddenly I was rethinking this street market concept all together.

The lavish woodsy aroma from My Garden's lavender booth dancing on the evening breeze captivated me. Before I knew it I was sipping a refreshing glass of ice cold lemonade from Ms. Sandy's beautiful glass decanter, exploring jars of lavender white-fig and white-peach jam, essential oils, body scrubs, and ogling her decadent trademark chocolate truffles.

The outdoor market was alive with the buzz of sweet chirps from baby chicks, and pleasant neighborly chatter as I meandered about the dozens of welcoming vendors. With the slight shift of the breeze, I was pleasantly hailed by the inviting aromatic bliss of fresh baked spinach rounds and still warm cranberry- almond loaves from the Highland Downs booth.

Being familiar with Ms. Celia's fabulous certified eggs, mouthwatering cookies, and divine chocolate treats, I went to further investigate. To my wonder, before me lay eye-catching vegetables, petite pottery gardens, hand-hewn aprons, fresh harvested cherries, plump artichokes, bags of dried herbs, and utterly tantalizing golden crusted peach, and strawberry rhubarb pies. Choosing a handmade shopping bag to my liking, I eagerly filled it with the blessings of her wares, truly appreciative of our local farmers for the first time, in that very moment.

Just across the aisle, I sampled the delicate blends of our resident Bluebird Trail Olive Farm with tasty chunks of Italian bread, soon after besotted by the delicious variety of Ms. Judy's Meyer lemon vinegar, hot pepper jam, and tasty jars of The Vinegar Ladies fancy pickled okra. The garden fresh scents of essential oils from Little Stone Remedies and luxuriously perfumed waterproof lotion bars playing on my senses, left me pining.

Traversing the market, I spied a gem-toned array of homemade jams and jellies from the Gingerbread House, as well as dozens of sweet scented handsomely hand-milled goats milk soaps from Fantasy Oaks. I couldn't stop myself from procuring a crimson jar of tangy pomegranate jelly, and a clean scented lemongrass soap bar.

The inviting aroma of sourdough caught my attention as I approached the back-to-basics offerings of rich smelling savory breads prepared with great care by the Cottage Wildflower Bakery. A half-dozen fluffy cinnamon twist rolls for my hubby in hand, and I was making my way to augment my already hardy bounty of acquisitions with a liquid amber prized treasure of Hillerman Family Honey.

The evening drawing to a close, I made one last stop by Janet and Boyd Stevens Italian Ice cart, rewarding myself with a cup of their refreshingly lip-smacking watermelon ice.

Relishing the moment, I realized just how fortunate our community is that this most enjoyable event is available to us weekly, just minutes from our homes. We should offer thanks to the kindness and cooperation of True Value and their associates for hosting such an outstanding community event. Moreover, we need to show appreciation to the venders who dedicate so much of their time and efforts to enhance our community experience each week.

It's gratifying to know that for each and every dollar spent locally, up to six — yes you heard me right — six peoples lives can be impacted. How incredible it seemed that whilst participating in this yearly seasonal event, I had not only filled my home with exceptional goods, but more so, that I had possibly touched two hundred and sixty-four peoples' lives in doing so.

In that moment I reconsidered my weekly visits to the grocery store, making a pact to seek provisions I might need here, and in other local farmers markets as well, prior to making my way to purchase supplies. The astonishing realization had opened my eyes to the importance of spending those hard-earned dollars in our local area, supporting our very neighbors ... and in turn, our local communities as well in the end.

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