As nasty as last weekend was, there were little windows of dry moments, if not sunshine. First Friday got by unscathed and the first couple of hours of the Market Square Farmers’ Market remained dry. After that a persistent, irritating sprinkle fell for the duration. It was never enough to call it a wash-out, but just enough to be unpleasant. I hate umbrellas and generally refuse to use one which means I’m a drowned rat in situations like that one.
We did manage to walk around a bit. My impression is that it, like last year, remains very large and, if anything, has grown. I’m taking into account the fact that a number of farmers haven’t bothered to show up, just yet. Even without them, the square was full and trucks, tents and carts lined Market for a block and Union for a block and a half. When crops really come in it should be even larger.
Of course, at this point, it is dominated by various arts and crafts, some of which are quite lovely. Scarves woven from alpaca hair, tye-dye shirts and dresses, beautiful woodwork and any number of other items line the southern end of the square and Market Street. Coffee is offered at both ends: To the north, Jeff has his Three Bears Coffee cart set up. It’s amazing coffee and it’s all that we drink at home. You’ll find it here and at Just Ripe. To the south, at the intersection of Union and Market, Java sells coffee faster than they can drip it. The smell alone is enough to pull me from my home.
There were fresh foods available even though the main growing season lies in front of us. (Like anything anticipated, the moment just before the produce floods the street is the best. We know all the deliciousness to come and it looms in our imagination.) Potatoes, grain-feed beef, peppers, eggs and asparagus come to mind. We bought some of the later and enjoyed it with our Sunday dinner.
Flowers and plants also held a prominent spot in the mix. Urban Woman bought several plants and, though we are flowered up in our home at this point, we’ll enjoy fresh locally grown flowers all summer from the vendors at the Market. The plants we bought are already growing in our courtyard thanks to the constant liquid love we’ve enjoyed the last few days in the city.
The other feature we really enjoy about the Farmers’ Market, and it has grown considerably the last couple of years, is the presence of prepared food vendors, usually in the form of food trucks. We don’t generally get into the baked goods so much, though VG’s bakery and others offer excellent treats if you have a sweet tooth. We often buy fresh bread, generally from Rick, but there are a number of bakers offering all manner of breads.
But we generally can’t avoid a stop for lunch at a food truck. We’ve enjoyed the Cruze Farm Truck when they offered Vietnamese dishes. We love the Savory and Sweet Truck, particularly their bacon-wrapped dates and we have started making those ourselves (hint: use Benton’s Bacon and buy fresh dates from Three Rivers Market). On this day we chose to eat breakfast tacos from the Tootsie Truck. Rebecca Sldivar, co-owner, explained that the eggs used all come from Adam and Shelby at Spring Creek Farm. Her partner and co-owner Daniel added that he makes his own chorizo and it contains less fat with a great taste.
All I can say is two cups of Java coffee, two breakfast tacos and a Dale’s Fried pie later, we were pretty happy. It’s best to do your shopping, buy your food and find a great place to people-watch, but given the deteriorating weather, we took our tacos and coffee and walked home. It was a good, if somewhat soggy, start to one of the very best features of life in the city.