Eugene's farmer's markets are wonderful, and a large portion of my Saturdays are spent there for the majority of the year. They're a meeting place of food lovers, chefs, home cooks, people who want to know where their food is coming from, and that it's raised sustainably, and some I'm sure just because it's so nice to browse all the gorgeous produce. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end at some point. We just had our last Saturday farmer's market of the year last weekend, and I'm sad to see it go. Lucky for me, the Holiday Market picks up right away once the farmer's market ends and lasts at least through Christmas. This is where I found truffles last year...no, not the chocolate kind...but plump, round, earthy Oregon truffles...dug up, by hand, from the forest...so that's something to look forward to. But then, until May of next year, the grocery store will be my only access to locally grown, organic vegetables and fruits, and it's much harder there to learn about what I'm eating, touch the hands that grew it, or even to know what's in season.
Not that I don't love our grocery store - PC Markets have great access to organic, in-season foodstuffs, and I'm lucky enough to have one just two blocks from my house. But I will definitely miss those lazy Saturday mornings browsing the market, amazed by all of the gorgeous displays of colorful vegetables, the smokey scent of roasting peppers, and beautiful fresh flowers. I'll miss the excitement of finding that one fruit or vegetable that's just come into season that I've never even heard of, seeing the first tomato or huckleberries or apples or fresh porcinis and chanterelles of the year, and especially, long chats with my favorite farmers. And I have to admit, it was this market, and these farmers, that turned my love of food and cooking into a full-blown passion over the last couple of years I've lived here. How could I not fall in love with it? How could I not yearn to cook with this amazing bounty available to me every week?
I'll miss my Saturday morning ritual, but in this holiday season, and with winter settling into the Cascade Mountains and as my home becomes inwardly cozier with fires every evening to heat the house from the chill outside, I have more opportunities to snuggle on the couch with Loving Boyfriend and relish the warmth and satisfaction of all the comforting foods of the season, and I'm thankful. Thankful for all the glorious, healthful produce the local farmers have provided me this year and for allowing me those slow mornings to clear my head, meet the people that grew the food that has blessed my table, and shake the hands that picked it. Indirectly, it's also allowed me meet all of you, too, and as most of you that have been reading know already, I'm incredibly thankful for that too.
written by Michelle at 4:39 PM