Today I went to our local Farmer's Market on the north side of town. It is one of those places where the farmers come in with either huge trucks to sell the truckload wholesale to local grocery stores, or small pick up trucks loaded with whatever is ready for market and set up a small truck farm underneath a tall metal shed. They generally have a small table for display purposes (usually a sheet of plywood on top of two sawhorses) and sell whatever they picked the night before or that morning, then drive back to the farm and do some serious late evening farming.
Or they operate like the young man I bought from today. His dad is the working farmer and he is the working salesman. They both get up at dawn to harvest everything that is ready to sell and the son makes the drive to the market, if not daily at least every other day, while his father stays and works the crops. Judging by his assortment of fruits and vegetables they grow an amazing variety of crops on a small farm. I was not the first customer, in fact it was a little after noon when I got there, but he was ready to make a deal and head back home.
Nerd alert: Beware of a nerdy woman with a new digital scale!
I wound up with a bushel of silver queen corn for 18 dollars, (71 ears for anyone counting) 11.2 pounds of perfect peaches for 7 bucks, 13.85 pounds of beautiful squash for 10 dollars. 11.52 pounds of very ripe tomatoes for 8 dollars, 2 watermelons $3.50 (for both) 2 pounds of okra 6 bucks (not great but he only had one carton so I had no bargaining power and really wanted okra) 5.1 lb. green tomatoes for 5 dollars, and 14 large red and green peppers for 6 dollars. In addition I got a bushel and a half of lady peas for 30 dollars, including the price of shelling them.
I did not buy a basket of green apples and now I am kicking myself, nor did I get any pears which I also should have bought. I was looking for a large basket of jalapenos, cucumbers and pattypan squash, along with a large basket of zucchini, but could find none. Part of shopping the market here is being flexible and buying what is there when it is available, knowing that some things you want might not be around that day.
When I compare prices to the grocery store, I came out ahead on everything except the okra and the lady peas. They cost about the same, but even so I am getting much fresher and better quality produce for my money.
Now begins the process of processing everything. I was planning to go to a play tonight, but I think I will be shucking corn, blanching veggies and stuffing freezer bags instead. Y'all have fun!
Tonights menu changed from the grilled chicken I had planned into a sautéed squash, okra, fried green tomatoes, bell pepper slices and corn on the cob meal. What is the saying "Want to make God laugh? Make a plan!"