This past Saturday, my mom and I made it to the new Sugar Land Farmer’s Market. Judging by the crowds, Sugar Land residents have been hungry for this. Unfortunately, in my glee I left my camera at home, so I guess I’ll have to write a thousand words instead. Well, maybe half that much.
The market has two main areas. A covered, open-air building houses the traditional market offerings; vegetable growers, cheese makers, bakers, canners, and coffee grinders. Outside, former covered parking for Imperial Sugar executives was converted into a row for prepared food vendors, with shaded tables surrounding a cooking demonstration area. Between the two main areas is a stage, where a local music duo played folk-country for the passers-by. It was about as quaint as anything could be when planned by planners who live in a planned city. (Hey, I mean that well…I chose to live here after all.)
The vegetable tables had the typical early October offerings: squash, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, radishes, okra, some asian vegetables (bitter melon, water spinach), sweet potatoes, melons, and a few heirloom tomatoes (that I regret not snapping up right away.) I did spy some suspicious boxes of grocery-store-like tomatoes, onions, and carrots. That’s always disappointing, but thankfully, most veggies appeared to be locally grown, although not all organically. I can usually spot the organic vegetables by sight, but I still ask the vendor. I figure if the conventional farmers get asked enough times, they’ll eventually get it that people want cleaner, -cide free foods.
As I walked the aisles, blog pictures from current CSA shares from around the country popped into my mind. I find it absolutely fascinating to see how different the offerings are in Oregon right now than from here on the Texas Gulf Coast. It would be easy to get jealous, but my respect for our local farmers overrides any feelings of food envy that I might have. After traveling to Pennsylvania this summer and seeing how gently the earth yields up food there, versus our thorny, pest-y, currently drought-ridden, reluctant ground here, I am frankly in awe of the perseverance and fortitude our farmers have. I really do appreciate every hard grown vegetable on the tables. Each squash, pepper, and cucumber represents sweat, worry, love, and someone’s livelihood.
I’ve also wondered if maybe God has appointed foods to meet the needs of those living in their unique regions. It’s not every climate that grows watermelons so abundantly like the heat-ruled regions. It’s just a thought…not too well fleshed out, but it keeps me thinking.
Just for (my) fun, I’ll name everything in the picture above, starting at the noon position. In the basket are eggplants (current obsession), garlic chives, cucumbers, small, sweet peppers, and yellow squash. The big guy at 1 o’clock is a cushaw squash. Next, we have duck and chicken eggs, patty pan squash, zucchini, a deliciously non-musky goat chevre, a raw-milk havarti cheese, and then some pastured ground beef.
I also bought 2 giant cantaloupes, a bottle of Texas olive oil, and a bottle of orange vinegar. Adding in the 10 pounds of pastured beef, liver, and the vegetables, all I can say is I SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT A CART. Seriously, my arms were about to fall off by the time I got to the car. I can’t believe the bag straps didn’t break.
I look forward to my CSA season in a few weeks, where my week’s produce is delivered to me so that I don’t need a cart, and I am positive of my farmer‘s growing practices, but I love a rare Saturday without sports, so I can have the leisure to stroll a market with my mom and look into the faces of the people who grew my food. Lovely.