So I have been trying to find a Farmer's Market around here that I like. What I have learned is that these canny farmers (or perhaps the cities that sponsor them) can be, shall we say, creative with the truth.
I persuaded Hubba-hubba to go to one with me last week, and its little webpage boasted of how many vendors there were and how many different and unique vegetables they had. So with high hopes and Mr. Personality in tow inside his Radio Flyer wagon, off we went. First, the directions were wrong and we got a bit lost. But then we found it and were saddened to find that a grand total of 6 vendors were selling fruit or vegetables. Did I go there to buy cutsie signs for my garden? No, but those were there. Did I go there to buy custom tote bags? No, but they were there too. Since when did selling hot Coach purses qualify as a Farmer's Market entry? Easy to guess that the wagon was a gross overachiever, we put the one loaf of bread we bought in it (which we could very easily have carried) so as not to hurt its feelings.
I am much too far away for two of the most popular and well-known Farmer's Markets in SoCal. One is just simply Farmer's Market in LA and the other is the Wednesday Santa Monica Farmer's Market. I used to work in Santa Monica, and would occasionally visit that one. It had quite the few vendors and had some unusual produce that you couldn't find at your local Ralph's.
You see, even though California is the largest crop producer in the United States, we Californians cannot get really fresh produce without having to go through a bit of effort. The Central valley region of California is vast and fertile, producing everything from almonds to oranges to artichokes. Farmer's Markets are a way of smaller producers getting fresh stuff to larger numbers of people than if they set up a roadside stand outside their acreage.
Today, I braved another one with Mr. Personality. I brought his stroller out, thinking I had better have it with me in case of a long haul. I needn't have bothered, since there were a grand total of 5 vendors, period. I did mangage to buy some "Calabasas" strawberries that are as big as Mr. Personality's hands. Five bucks for three baskets didn't sound too bad, until I got home and realized that each basket holds about 6 berries. Ah well, at least they tasted pretty good.
Do I dare go to another one of these things? I'm just looking for some honey tangerines, people, is that so hard? What did I do in my previous life to tick off the Farmer's Market gods? Well, I'm going to go and offer up some of those strawberries to them. At about 30 cents a pop, they've got to have some appeasement value.