Farmer’s markets bring out the best in us. They are tranquilizers, equalizers… dare I say… democratic. There is something about wandering past tables of local produce, products, and flowers, chatting with the friendly farmers, and filling our canvas bags with misshapen turnips and bundles of green garlic and arugula, locally sourced honey, a bottle of fresh cow’s milk, and a tulip or two, that brings us all back down to earth. All walks of life are warmly welcomed at the farmer’s market. There is no class system, no one person at a greater advantage than another, and we practice patience that we never knew we had.
The farmer’s themselves remind us how simple life can be, how great are these small treasures that they bring to us, how lucky we are that they have devoted themselves to waking up at 2am to drive their tomatoes down from Saratoga Springs so that they can present them in a wooden crate, as perfect as a picture, smiling from behind their cash box despite their fatigue. I like to get to the market as soon as it opens, when the farmers are still finishing setting up and the sous chef/purchasers from the city’s best restaurants are making their rounds with their yellow note pads, making checks on their grocery list. In the same week, I have found myself standing next to the sous chef at Blue Hill and a few days later, just after the Pellegrino’s list was announced, a sous chef from Eleven Madison Park. I love to see what they are buying, what they believe is worthy of their restaurant, or is it the other way around? Either way, I think we can all agree that there is nothing like a farmer’s market for a bit of carefree cheer, a reminder of life unadorned. When my bag is full with a loaf of Rockhill Bakehouse’s cranberry walnut loaf, a Shushan Valley cucumber, and a heap of greens, everything else on my restless mind is de trop.