I have a cousin who used to dream of one day becoming a tour guide. In the summers we would often spend two weeks together up at my grandparents house in Maine. He would give us tours of the house, day after day, we would be introduced to the kitchen, the pantry, the bathroom, the linen closet. We would often tease him, in the way that kids do, about being “off of his rocker”, but now I think that he may have been onto something.
It’s fun seeing my home through the eyes of a traveler. This was the thought that occupied my mind while running through the shady strip lined with fragrant lilac trees. It was a hidden oasis nestled smack in the middle of a split suburban throughway during rush-hour.
“Do runners typically wave when they pass each other in Vermont?” I asked our east coast visitor. The lilac trees opened up, letting us out onto an island of soft green. A narrow strip of brown marked a compact trail build by hundreds of stomping running shoes. I was remembering being really surprised by how friendly people are in Minnesota. Truth be told, it terrified me.
“Um, actually, we don’t have the volume of runners where I live in Vermont that you do here, nor do we have the trail system. I hardly see people when I run.” She continued, “The people are really friendly here, actually, I am amazed by how friendly they are. It’s amazing how people will take the time to talk to a complete stranger about the weather.”
Walkers, runners, bicyclers, skateboarders, our suburban streets have the activity of a beach town. No temperate day goes unappreciated, or undiscussed. On the weekends, the local farmers market where I work is transformed to a fairground, where street performers play and children tug their parents around with strawberry smeared grins. I stand at the demo station waiting for people to ask where to find the best rosemary, or who has those little red new potatoes. I listen for these questions, and often butt-in to answer them regardless of whether they are addressed to me or not. It thrills me to guide people through the market. I’m sure that my cousin will be pleased to hear that I often find myself wondering if there is a demand for farmers market shirpas in this economy.
Toward the end of my shift I received this text message from my friend Josh.
“Are you at working at the market today? We have some out of town guests and we are here.”
It couldn’t have been a more perfect day to share. The strawberries are ripe, the flowers are blooming, a bounty of greens lines every stall, scattered tomatoes, potatoes, kohlrabi, and red radishes stick out like blushing jewels, the smell of herbs solidifies the whole experience into a memory.
Here are some of my favorite things that were shared with my friends and me and on our tour of the market today. Some of them are not things that we sell at the market, like this fermented garlic that the Worker Bs brought back from their travels out east: And here are some greens that grower Shur Yang identified for us on our radio show (to listen to the show, click on Saturday June 18th) (garlic scapes with a single sprig of chinese broccoli on top). When I got home I sauteed a whole bunch of chinese broccoli with three or four garlic scapes. Inspired by an AMAZING cooking demonstration from blogger Amy Peterson of “Green your plate“, I flavored them with the following ingredients.Mmmm delicious! Happy travels!