The End of Farmer’s Market Season…Waaaaaaah!

November is here, and the last farmer’s market of the season in Emmaus is on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. This week things are already winding down. The vendors are thinning out, and the crowds are filled with hard-core regulars rather than the summertime occasional shoppers.

In the few short years that this market has been going on, I realize just how much it’s become an integral part of my life, and of my joy in life and in food. It’s not just about the food…although it is about the food. This time of year there is fresh apple cider and crispy unusual apples and Asian pears. There are salad greens in the most delicious and delightful combinations, better than anything you could get in any supermarket anywhere in the world. I have to buy enough frozen Buffalo meat sticks (the ones that taste like Lebanon bologna) to get me through the winter. And then there are the smoked and dried hot peppers, and, this year, smoked peppers and garlic in olive oil. And pea shoots for stir-fry. For another week or two, at least, we will eat well.

But not just about the food, it’s also about the people who grow the food. Each one has a different talent and specialty, and there isn’t a bad personality in the bunch (at least not that I’m aware of). There is the guy with the crazy hat with feathers stuck all over it who is still struggling with Lyme disease, but is an awesome forager—I can count on him to have wild black raspberries in June (and it’s his smoked peppers I’ll be eating all winter, as well as my own dried cayenne). Then there is the very sweet buffalo guy, who sells buffalo rugs and hats and mittens as well as meat. The wonderful family that grows incredible micro greens weren’t there this week, and I will eagerly await their greens (and her soaps) again in the spring. Jean Nick, Rodale.com’s very own Nickel Pincher, was there selling chickens and showing off her ridiculously fabulous chicken purse. Then there is the family that grows perfect vegetables and herbs, which I know Alice Waters would rave over if she came to Emmaus. I love to watch their family grow, from just a couple, to a pregnant couple, to a family with cute baby who is now walking. Speaking of families, George and Melanie’s son Don just got married, and he and his new wife made the incredible smoked pepper and garlic in oil mixture that is amazing. Don says my pig is ready to be picked up next week. It escaped twice this summer! But this time, unfortunately, there is no escape—half of it is going straight into my freezer. Poor thing. Yum.

I secretly love the fact that all of them notice I haven’t been there for a few weeks. Between my crazy new job and getting swine flu, I haven’t been able to get myself out of the house on a Sunday morning. But this week I did, and it was good. And I realize that when I’m shopping for food from all of these hard-working, smart, and wonderful people, I’m not just getting nutritious and delicious fresh food, I’m getting a feeling of love. I can feel the love they have put into growing their food. And I feel love for all of them for doing it so well, and for bringing me so much pleasure and health.

Times have changed. This farmer’s market never would have happened 10 or 20 years ago in this small American town. But here it is, revitalizing the whole town as well as its citizens. So when I feel down about the state of the world and how things have changed for the worse, I think about the Emmaus Farmer’s Market and remember that there is good change, too. And there are good people. Growing good food. Making the world (and my world) a better place.

I’ll miss all of you over the winter! But I’ll be back in the spring.

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6 Responses to The End of Farmer’s Market Season…Waaaaaaah!

  1. Mary Ann November 9, 2009 at 11:11 am #

    Maria, I have been wanting to take a trip to the Emmaus farmer’s market all summer and just never got there. I live further north of you outside of Scranton. We have our own farmer’s market which I frequent, but the Emmaus market has me intrigued. I’m a big fan of buffalo meat and the smoked peppers sound delicious. I guess I only have two more weekends to get there. I hope there will still be vendors!! I’ve already missed the microgreens vendors. Boohoo.

  2. Tricia November 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    The Asian Pears were one of the highlights of this year’s farmer’s market for me. But now that I know that the Buffalo meat sticks taste like Lebanon baloney, I’m going to have to make sure I get there on Sunday.

  3. Loren November 9, 2009 at 1:01 pm #

    I go to the market every Sunday outside the Columbia University gates in Manhattan (year-round, lucky me). The fish guy, who catches off Montauk (never, ever frozen) gives me a discount if I pay with small bills and quarters. And the milk lady admires my terrier, and tells me about her two crazy Yorkies, Rick James and Chewbacca.

  4. Maria (farm country kitchen) November 9, 2009 at 10:03 pm #

    Hey Tricia, make sure to tell the Buffalo man that it’s the stick’s I like — he keeps them hidden in the freezer!

  5. Kate November 10, 2009 at 11:02 pm #

    That gave me chills! I have been doing farmer’s markets for 18 years, and to see them popping up all over the country in very small towns now is very heart warming. I am so glad you love your farmers so much! I am sure they love you too. Sometime it is hard to get out there and work in the rain and cold, but great customers make it so worth it.

  6. Maggie February 8, 2010 at 4:31 pm #

    I can’t wait for the return of the farmer’s market this spring.

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