Saturday, July 17, 2010

Off to market

Farmer Joe. That's what I've named the kind man in the overalls at the farmers market. He's tall and a bit round. A beard of sandy blond hair covers his face.

He is also warm and very enthusiastic. Enthusiastic about the food he's grown, how to prepare it and how it tastes.

My loot from "Farmer Joe."

Take the purple-skinned Caribe potatoes. I was looking at them, as well as the "new" potatoes, Yukon golds and heirloom varieties, and he began to tell me why they looked a little less pretty (too much rain this spring). He told me that they would make the best mashed potatoes. Ever.

I'd love to buy them, I told him, but I wasn't planning on mashed taters for the upcoming week. I wanted something for the grill. He then directed me to the heirlooms, boasting that they are native to the area and have been around since at least the 1890s. Some of the potatoes, which he dug up himself, were tinier than a toy ball you get out of a vending machine. I think they'll make an excellent hash for some eggs tomorrow morning.

I moved around the table and he showed me some squash. "This one really surprised me," he said, pointing to the two-tone vegetable. I asked about baby squashes, I'll call them, a variety I had seen on Food Network. He told me that one was a bit nutty, another more like zucchini. Yes, to those please.

He packed up my purchases and I made my way to find some tomatoes. But as I wandered the market, I wanted to go back. Farmer Joe was just so adorable and his passion was refreshing. I was in love.

To think, though, that a year ago I might not have ever met Farmer Joe. I wouldn't have cared about eating better; I wouldn't have considered how to be better to me. It's amazing the things, and people, you'll discover when you're willing to make that stride toward health.

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