How many of us love going to the local Farmer’s Market? The Farmer’s Market is a great place to find local produce. At the Farmer’s Market, you probably know the Farmer by name. Also, you know that Farmer raised his product with love. When you purchase his product, you are supporting a local family and a local economy.
When the farmers gather weekly to show off their sweat equity, they proudly display the fruits of their labor. At the Farmer’s Market many different varieties are available. There you will find varieties not available at the box store or supermarket. At the Farmer’s Market, you know the produce is fresh from the field, often that very day.
When a day ends at the Farmers Market, the Farmer enjoys the profit. The consumer enjoys the taste of fresh produce. Each goes home satisfied with the result of their day at the Farmer’s Market.
Throughout the day, as the produce moved from the seller to the buyer, most people were only able to see the physical exchange of wares. Unnoticed by those present was the journey into the past which was happening in the minds of many who were present.
Today, August 8, 2020, my mom will turn 87. She still lives independently. Up until about 4 years ago, she still worked a garden. This year, she had a few tomatoes which she grew in containers on her porch. Because of her age though, she can no longer tend a large garden. She tells me often how she wishes she could get out to push the plow, or pick beans.
For many of us, we enjoy the freshness of the produce which we can acquire at the Farmer’s Market. But for those of my mom’s age, they remember the times when gathering items from the garden was not a past time, but was life or death. If they were to have food for the winter, they would need to preserve all they could.
When my mom sees fresh produce, she begins to recount stories of her childhood on the banks of the Ohio River. She tells of gathering the No. 5 wash tub to can beans outside on an open fire. She tells of pickling corn and storing it in a stone jar.(My father-in-law even tells of a time he reached in the stone jar and pull out a pickled rat.) With every purchase of produce, there is a new story, or old one, to share.
On a recent trip to a Farmer’s Market in her area, she noticed the tomatoes were not exactly fresh. She told me, “I could tell those tomatoes they were selling were not fresh. They shipped them in from some place. The stem looked old. The skin looked odd. The tomato was “ripe” all the way to the stem. Those were not fresh picked tomatoes.” I guess maybe the old timers know fresh produce when they see it.
Today, the Magoffin County Farmer’s Market will be open. Many will pass by the tables trying to find the freshest and fullest. The farmers will be anxiously attempting to clear their table so they can make a profit. What will probably go unnoticed is the memories which are spilling into the minds of those who are present. Memories of days gone by. Memories when the availability of fresh produce meant more than just a profit. It meant life or death. Memory is a wonderful gift. Memories of childhood can bring joy into the life of an older adult. So, the next time you are at the Farmer’s Market, maybe you could take a little time to talk to some of the patrons. Maybe you could ask them what memories flood their minds as they purchase their fresh produce. Remember, at the Farmer’s Market, there is more than just produce being exchanged, memories are being restored. At the Farmer’s Market, the past is being remembered.