What You Missed at the Market

Wow – what a day. The parking lot was already totally packed by the time I arrived a little before 9 a.m. I took a chance and swung into the row nearest the market pavilion, hoping to get lucky, and got my regular spot right near the entrance, despite the crowd. I got situated and got out of the car, camera in hand, money in one pocket, list in another, and as I locked the car and dropped my keys in my pocket, I noticed that two cars had pulled into the row while I’d been getting myself together.

Both of them were sitting in the aisle, engines running, waiting for someone to leave so they could grab a space. Sure, I’d just gotten an awesome spot (and by the time I left I was glad I was parked so close), but I did have the thought So you’re sitting in the farmers’ market parking lot with your engine running. Must be having trouble deciding whether to decrease or increase your carbon footprint.

I was so distracted by the long line forming at the Fig Fest tent – and wanting to get into it myself – that I hardly took any pictures. I did swing by the Organic Pastures table and congratulate Mark, et al, on their appearance in the New York Times.

I bought what I would characterize as a “Value Sized” bunch of parsley from Michele at K.M.K.; it was about a metric ton of the stuff, which is fine with me – I have previously been accused of applying as if it itself was a vegetable, so I thought the quantity was about right. Tabbouli on the way!

I also captured these white peaches on K.M.K Farms’ table, which seemed to be glowing as if lit from within.

Fred Smeds caught my eye and gestured to me as I was approaching the Savage Island table. He extened his hand and pointed downward, and there they were:

Rose Concord grapes.

I confess, I actually squealed, jumped in the air a couple times and clapped my hands. A couple other people picking out grapes turned and stared. Shifting back from twelve to thirty-one year-old mode, I regained my composure, saying, “It’s good to be so pleased by the little things in life, isn’t it? Makes being happier easier,” as I popped one of the sweet, floral-scented berries into my mouth and loaded a couple bunches of its mates into a bag.

These are my favorite grape, by far, and I only found out about them this time last year. They’re soft and a little bit pulpy, in the way that Concords are, but they don’t slip their skins. They taste plummy, honey-inflected, and flower-like – they remind me of pulling the tops off of clover blossoms and sucking the nectar out of them as a kid. Their skins have just the faintest bit of winey muskiness, too, a powdery bloom that looks like the lightest dusting of powdered sugar imaginable, and only a fraction of the tartness of a regular Concord’s skin.

In short, I wish I could send a couple of big bunches to everyone I know. And if you’re in town, seriously, you must make time to visit Fred and Paula soon.

So then I headed off to make my way to the highlight of the day: the Fig Fest tent. That post coming as soon as I sort through the huge number of pictures I took.

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2 Responses to What You Missed at the Market

  1. Nicole says:

    I think I probably just missed you at the Farmer’s Market! I’m in the valley visiting family and my aunt and I went early, around 8am. I missed out on all the fig fest stuff because I headed to SF for the weekend with a friend. I attended a knife skills class in Berkely given by Pastry Chef Shuna Lydon. It was a beautiful weekend in the Bay area! I’ll probably try to hit the market again Wednesday evening. I might post some market photos on my blog today if I can lighten them up a bit!

  2. Jocelyn says:

    Too bad we missed each other, Nicole! Hope the class was great. Shuna is interesting to read – I bet she’d be great to learn from in person as well. You’ll have to tell me about the class – maybe we can meet up at the market? I dropped you an email…let me know.

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