I’m a big fan of farmers’ markets. I love the little guy, the one who knows he has a better product than you would get in a standard retail store, can’t mass-produce it and is okay with that. I want to buy something from them all and I wish I could. I admire their chutzpa, their willingness to stand out in the cold (while the rest of us walk in the sudden rain (this being Seattle, so of course).
What better way to get an idea of a city’s people than at a farmer’s market? You get the people wandering, buying, wishing they could buy, hungry, exploring or posing for me. This is Brad and Beth and Piper and Zoe at the Ballard market during a break in the clouds (Piper uninterested in her Sea Wolf Bakery “lye roll” or photos at this moment).
You get random people, so many people. Where do they come from? Do they live here and come every week? Are they visiting family as I am? Do they like the crowds? Tolerate the crowds? Wish this particular farmer’s market was on Saturday instead of Sunday?
Do they tolerate the many dogs (on regulated short leashes)? Or hope to see unusual ones like this brindle pug?
I never saw a brindle pug before.
Was it just this very moment that LOWER CASE BREWING (note upper case letters) stood waiting for customers? I guess (I hope) it was a momentary lull. I guess LOWER CASE has to do with the case of wine rather than the letters of the company name. Did you know that letters being called upper case and lower case refers to the time when typesetters had two literal (wooden) cases with individual letters in them that they set in the press, and the lower case sat below, closer to the person setting the type, because they were used more often?
The guy at King’s Mozzarella was super friendly and gave me a sample of his cheese that was marinating in olive oil with sun-dried tomatoes and fresh herbs. It was perfect and wonderful. I hope he sold out his supply.
Speaking of perfect, Pete’s Perfect Toffee made me think of confidence. How confident do you have to be in your product to call it perfect? One of his was made with coconut, which I love, which sorely tempted me.
Bakeries always draw me like a magnet. Everything at Tall Grass Bakery looked fabulous. Handmade artisan anything deserves praise and success.
Some of the names made me smile. You wonder how much time they spent thinking about what to call their business. The alliteration of Pete’s Perfect might stick in your head, but what about Taquiera los chilangos? I am likely to remember it as “Meat Choices.”
But GnomeinPottery made me think of nomenclature, a term we used in Montessori a lot, but oh wait, it wasn’t GnomeinPottery, it was LaughinGnome Pottery. I might just think of it as “the gnome place” and tell myself it wasn’t nomenclature, but something else with gnome in it.
I so wanted jonboy’s FRESH CARAMELS too! Isn’t this a guy you want to give business to? And why are caramels so tasty?? There are way too many temptations in this world. I was surrounded by goodness calling my name.
Wine, cheese, bread, even pickles! It’s not so easy to make a good pickle, you know. I’ve made them five times in the past two years and only twice did they come out the way I hoped.
Give credit to Firefly Kitchens for looking so friendly and having a colorful display, even if their name is firefly and the graphic on their logo is not.
Give credit to Deborah’s Homemade Pies too, even if the seller is sleepy in Seattle. They have to be fresh and flavorful, and what you don’t sell this week you can’t sell next week…
…which the good people at Skagit River Ranch (what a great river name) can do because their grass-fed-and-in-every-other-way-amazing meats are frozen.
And the preoccupied woman at finnriver farm cidery can do…
And the lady hoping to sell beautiful plates at RS Ceramic Dinnerware can do. Do you think it helps her business to be next to HotBabe-HotSauce?
This is just a sampling, but my hat’s off to all of them – setting up shop week after week, trying to draw you in with their smiles, their clever names, their admirable products. Trying to appeal to a diverse group of shoppers, stay warm, watch people walk away time and again while seeing each new one that approaches as a potential contributor to this week’s success.
That kind of spirit is clear and strong in a farmer’s market, and the personal touch does not go unnoticed. I love a plain reminder that humans – ambitious, friendly, hardworking, innovative, creative, stand-in-the-cold-hoping-for-a-good-day humans – are part of our world wherever we go.