Thursday, June 19, 2008

Farmer Meets Market

The Thursday evening farmers market is one of a growing number of markets in the area, all with their own character and personality. This market has a decidedly organic feel.

This market came about, from what I understand, because of the personal initiative of Chris Cagle, owner of the organic grocery store and cafe across the street. I call Chris a socio-economic entrepreneur, meaning what he does creates economic AND social (or cultural) capital simultaneously.

Tom, an organic farmer makes the short drive every Thursday with his seasonal fare. Lettuce, unfortunately, is gone for the season here, and his lettuce is superb - almost too beautiful to eat, until you taste it. But he had plenty of squash and zuccini and I scooped some up. Got a ripe plump watermelon from the guy next to him. They're just in.

It's a fairly new market (located in a park downtown that I helped design several years ago) and catching on fast. It's not just a place to buy veggys and art, its a place where social connection happens naturally, where a deep sense of "neighborhood" prospers.

And what a delight to hear a really great local bluegrass band - the Simpson County Ramblers. Perfect addition to the "texture." They kept changing instruments. Nice soulful sound, good bounce, great timing, some original compositions - they really enjoyed playing music and playing together. Love that bluegrass!

Earlier I posted a photo of some beautiful eggplants from another market, an indoor venue open Saturday and Wednesday morning. It has a completely different cast of characters and produce and crafts.

And Saturday morning, in the same park, another group (from the University) organizes a market, again with a different group of vendors and artists.

Variety, community, fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, locally crafted art all promote a rich cultural experience. Go ahead, take a bite of that juicy ripe peach.

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