Farmers Market: Part 3

You all know how desperately I’ve been trying to find a local farmer’s market, sometimes driving upwards of 50 miles one way to save a dime on a bundle of green beans. Well, today I went out again on my quest. I’m relentless.

I ended up on the south side of Lackland Air Force base, which is somewhere that I’ve been told I definitely should not go ever, by myself, wearing pink Under-Armor. In a parking lot of a church that looked like it doubled as a soup kitchen (and it likely does), I found…TWO STALLS. Again. It’s like they have some sort of clause that states only two farmers can be at any market at any given time. The area was so shady that I’m pretty sure the only reason I wasn’t shot was because I didn’t accidentally have on gang colors. I suppose it’s possible that I could have been the victim of a drive-by shooting from a gang that struggles with its tough identity. “Look at that ho! Flashin’ her colors in that pink outfit. Nobody messes with the lemon yellow ‘hood, yo.” But I survived, and brought home a treasure trove of fresh produce.

BQ has been canning foods like a madwoman, and I haven’t canned anything ever. This wouldn’t be a big deal, except that two or three years ago we attended the SAME canning seminar together, and while she has been preserving fresh produce, I have been paying $4 a can for organic tomato paste. It’s stupid. Chris has expressed some apprehension about my pending canning venture, citing fear of a mythical creature called “Botulism.” Pshaw. That has never happened to anybody that I know, and if it were to happen to me I believe that my immune system is talented enough to remain strong, instead diverting the ingested toxin to stave off any wrinkles that may be trying to set up shop on my face.

So I bought the stuff to can salsa and stewed tomatoes, things that I use pretty regularly. I talked the first farmer into giving me an entire crate of tomatoes for $25. I don’t know if that’s a good deal or a bad deal. I certainly FELT like I was bartering, but who knows. I suck at haggling.

Me: “So, um, would you give me, like, a lot of tomatoes for maybe less money if I bought, well, a lot of them?”
Farmer: “I give you crate-$25.”
Me (having no idea how big a crate is, nor how much tomatoes should cost): “Wow. Thanks! I’ll take it.”

At this point I hadn’t seen the tomatoes. He showed me the box and I examined it in the same way that I approve a bottle of wine in a restaurant. They always seem to present it to ME to sniff and taste, and I’m always just kind of excited that it’s in a bottle, so I frown pensively, swish it around in my mouth (yep, it’s wine), and then swallow it, waving my hand in a manner that I hope says “That’ll do, Monsieur. It’s not vintage, but 2008 was a good year for Beringer white zinfandel,” but that likely inspires grand mirth in the French waitstaff after I leave (insert French laughter). Anyway, I waved to the farmer in the same way and he loaded the stuff into my car. I left quickly after that, knowing that my desperation for fresh produce was clearly visible, and that if I’d have stuck around we’d have had the following conversation:

Me: “So, um…do you have any other good deals for farm stuff?”
Farmer: “We have these dirt clods.”
Me: “Are they locally grown?”
Farmer: “Yes ma’am”
Me: “I’ll take the lot!”

I then went to the military base BX and bought some larger pots to replant my recently purchased herbs. I don’t know why I did this either, as the pots are essentially just large burial plots for the herbs that, if they haven’t died while I was typing this, will at least be dead by nightfall. I am the world’s crappiest gardener. And now I have potting soil jostling with frosting for position in my engagement ring.

As you can see, my backyard is lush and full of foliage. This is because Chris has been steadfastly avoiding mowing the lawn, citing a “weak charge” on the electric lawnmower he so proudly purchased before realizing that mowing is hard.

5 thoughts on “Farmers Market: Part 3”

  1. Here’s something you should do with Chris: have him bring home some pH strips. He likes science! You’ll need to test the acidity of the stewed tomatoes to make sure that they’re high enough (i.e. pH low enough, if I remembers me some Arvidson) to can using the water-bath method. I think tomatoes are fine. I keep wanting to make and can soups, but those are definitely things that require pressure canning.

    I know you’re just using this as an excuse to buy a 16-qt multicooker so you can be like me… :)

    Oh! You’ll love this! I was saying something about making plum jelly, and a coworker made the mistake of asking me how a person would go about such a task, and was treated to a spiel involving such items as “juice bag,” “cheese cloth,” and “alternative pectin catalyst.” That didn’t do much for my campaign of trying to appear normal and sane in the workplace.

  2. You are too funny. I went to our pathetic farmer’s market yesterday and came home with a sack of rotting squash. Seems the good ones (3) were placed on top of the yucky ones I couldn’t see! Yikes! Won’t be back there any time soon.

  3. But ALL squash tastes rotten. That’s why they call it “squash.” I still feel for you and your misfortune, and hope that maybe someday you’ll be in the San An area so I can show you how bad a market can ACTUALLY be. You have no idea, grasshopper. No idea…

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